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Infosys whistleblower case: Ask Nilekani or God, quips Sebi chief Tyagi

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) Chairman Ajay Tyagi (pictured) on Friday said the regulator was probing the whistle-blower allegations against Infosys. However, he refused to divulge details regarding information-sharing with the US regulator.

“Investors should draw their conclusions. We are doing whatever we have to,” Tyagi told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on capital markets, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

In addition, Sebi is probing a huge build-up of derivatives positions in the IT major’s stock, before the allegations were made public.

When asked about Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani’s spirited defence of the sanctity of the company’s numbers, the Sebi chairman said that investors could take comfort from Nilekani’s statement if they wanted.

“You have to ask him (Nilekani), or you can ask God,” Tyagi quipped. Nilekani had, in an analyst meeting on Wednesday, said that Infosys’ finance team was feeling insulted by these allegations. Nilekani added that the company has robust processes and that even God could not change the numbers.

On rating agencies that failed to take action against issuers before default, Tyagi said that they had been blamed in many cases, but in other cases, they did not get timely information or issuers weren’t cooperating.

Further, Tyagi said the regulator was looking into concerns over firms not sharing data with credit rating agencies.

He lamented that share sales worth Rs 25,000 crore were yet to hit the market despite getting Sebi’s nod, adding that 45 of the 91 listed government companies had not met the minimum public shareholding of 25 per cent.

Speaking about primary markets, Tyagi said some confidence-building measures were needed to revive demand. He added that government divestment could boost primary market activity, and that Sebi will come out with a circular on allowing preferential allotments to Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InVITs).

Tyagi said that everyone acknowledged issues plaguing the financial sector, explaining that if the problems started with banks or NBFCs, they could have a contagion effect and spread to other sectors.

Source: Business Standard