Sebi Cautions PACL Investors Against Fake Refund Promises

New Delhi: Cautioning investors in the over Rs 50,000-crore PACL case, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has asked them to guard against unauthorised attempts to collect their property and investment documents.

Under the supervision of the Supreme Court and a panel headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, Sebi is currently in the process of refunding money to the investors after selling attached assets of PACL Group and has already collected a large number of property documents.

PACL, a Pearl Group company that had raised money from public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses, was found by market watchdog Sebi to have collected thousands of crores through illegal collective investment schemes over a period of 18 years.

As per orders of the Supreme Court, Sebi has also opened a designated Sebi-PACL Refund Account, to which all the amount realised pursuant to the attachment, recovery or court orders is transferred.

In its annual accounts for 2015-16, approved by Sebi’s board earlier this month, an amount of Rs 211.27 crore was received and along with the interest an amount of Rs 212.02 crore was lying in the designated PACL account.

PACL was found to have raised Rs 49,100 crore from nearly 5 crore investors that it needs to refund along with promised returns, interest payout and other charges, which took the total amount due to over Rs 55,000 crore, as per a Sebi order.

In a caution notice, Sebi said the Lodha committee has made “headway having collected a large number of property documents and engaged an agency for their safe custody, data creation and maintenance and has also engaged two agencies to conduct auction sale of properties”.

The first of the sale notice was published on May 29.

On the Supreme Court’s direction, the regulator had set up this high-level committee to ensure refunds in the PACL case are made to genuine investors following a Supreme Court order.

The public notice further said that the committee solicits “cooperation from customers /investors of PACL Ltd and requests them not to be guided by any reports/rumours not published by the committee and to submit documents only upon being specifically invited to do so by the committee”.