Veritas Investment Research Corp. is the target of bizarre allegations from a firm upset about the way it’s characterized in a research report.
Such reports are designed to guide Canadian investors who often aren’t comfortable investing in lightly regulated markets.
Real-estate and power group IndiaBulls alleges in a statement that Veritas and the report authors, Neeraj Monga and Nitin Mangal, published “gross incorrect data” about its company. Further, it alleges Monga demanded money through his personal email in exchange for holding back the report.
“If someone was going to demand money from them, they would do it before the report is published, and I wouldn’t do it from my personal email account,” Monga tells Advisor.ca.
Indian newspaper Business Standard states Monga, who’s executive vice president and head of Global Research at Veritas, emailed London-based hedge fund Altimas Partners on August 7 asking for a $40,000 subscription fee.
In response, Monga says, “I don’t even know what all this means. Unless I hear from police or a court in India that there’s a complaint, I don’t even know if this is true, and I don’t know how to respond — and why a criminal complaint based on a research report?”
The report, Bilking India, is indeed frank. It focuses on three companies: IndiaBulls Power Limited, IndiaBulls Real Estate Limited and IndiaBulls Financial Services Limited.
“We figured out controlling shareholders [of these companies] were siphoning significant sums of money into private companies,” Monga says. “We have all the publicly available financial statements [for IndiaBulls]. Under Indian corporate law, you have to disclose related-party dealings and parties controlled by the current shareholders and directors.
“So we looked at the financial statements of all those companies and that’s how we figured it out. Our research report is pretty comprehensive. Instead of trying to tackle us on an intellectual basis by rebutting our facts, [IndiaBulls] is trying to arm-twist us into retracting our report.”
IndiaBulls is also complaining the report writers did not contact them to clarify facts.
“I did not need to,” says Monga. “There’s a 75-page appendix in our report. It’s all there.”
Monga adds Mangal is a consultant based in India.