Wednesday, August 17News That Matters

Sebi cautions investors against dealing in PACL properties

Cautioning investors over PACL’s illegal money-pooling case, market regulator Sebi has advised them against dealing with any property where the group and its promoters have interests.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) found Pearls Agrotech Corporation (PACL) to have collected more than Rs 60,000 crore through illegal collective investment schemes over a period of 18 years.

PACL had raised money from the public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses.

The fresh advisory comes after the markets regulator received complaints or information that certain entities are attempting to sell such properties.

“The public is therefore once again cautioned against buying/dealing with any properties wherein PACL Ltd or any of its associates/subsidiaries have any interest/rights, directly or indirectly,” Sebi said in a statement.

The investors have been, further, requested to rely only on the public notices and press release published by the committee or Sebi which are available on the regulator’s website.

Sebi said that only a panel headed by retired Justice R M Lodha, which was constituted in 2016, is authorised to sell the properties of PACL, following which the panel initiated the process of refunds for investors of PACL.

Till date over 3.81 lakh such investors, having claim amount up to Rs 5,000, have been paid. However, certain applications could not be processed further on account of one or more errors.

In December 2015, Sebi had ordered attachment of all assets of PACL and its nine promoters and directors for their failure to refund the money due to investors.

Sebi had asked PACL, as also its promoters and directors, to refund the money in an order dated August 22, 2014. The defaulters were directed to wind up the schemes and refund money to the investors within three months from the date of the order.

In a separate notice, the regulator said that all the grievances pertaining to properties of PACL would be taken up by retired justice R S Virk.

The Supreme Court, on the recommendation of the Lodha Committee in November 2017, directed that all the grievances or objections pertaining to properties of PACL would be taken up by Virk.

“All orders passed by R S Virk, Retired District Judge, are only recommendations and would require affirmation by the Supreme Court,” as per the regulator’s notice.

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