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SEBI orders Sumangal Ind refund investors in “potato purchase” scheme

In the event of the company failing to comply with the order, the regulator warned the company and its eleven promoters and directors of initiating prosecution proceedings and a civil/criminal case against them

Cracking down on a “potato purchase” illegal investment scheme promising up to 100% gain in just 15 months, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday asked a Kolkata-based company to wind up the scheme and refund investor money in three months.

 

SEBI also restrained the firm, Sumangal Industries, from the securities markets till the time entire money is refunded and all its collective investment schemes are wound up.

 

In the event of the company failing to comply with the order, the regulator warned the company and its eleven promoters and directors of initiating prosecution proceedings and a civil/criminal case against them for “offences of fraud, cheating, and criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds.”

 

Tuesday’s order follows a show-cause notice and interim directions issued by SEBI on 10th April to Sumangal Industries, which was promising investors 20%-100% return on their investments within 15 months through a scheme involving purchase and subsequent sale of potatoes.

 

SEBI also said it would make a reference to the ministry of corporate affairs to initiate the process of winding up of the company if it does not refund the money to investors and wind up all its schemes within three months.

 

In its interim direction, SEBI had asked the company to stop raising any further money till further orders and had asked it to reply within 15 days.

 

SEBI had begun a probe into the matter after it came across a newspaper advertisement in Kolkata by Sumangal Industries, wherein it was soliciting funds from the public under a “Flexi Potato Purchase Scheme.”

 

The regulator had subsequently informed the company in October 2012 that no entity could carry on or sponsor or launch a collective investment scheme without its approval.

 

It also said the company would have to submit certain documents to obtain the certificate.

 

However, the company in its reply to SEBI said it was trading in potatoes for which it had a trading licence and it was dealing in agricultural and non-agricultural products within and outside India.

 

It also denied that it was running a collective investment scheme and submitted that the question of obtaining a certificate of registration from SEBI did not arise.

 

After SEBI’s interim order, the company informed it that it has the High Court of Calcutta in the matter and sought for an extension of time for the reply.

 

However, SEBI continued with its proceedings as there was no court stay in the matter and subsequently some senior officials of the company, including its managing director Subrata Adhikary, appeared before the regulator.

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COMMENTS

Mohana Ganesh

4 years ago

How is that SEBI has taken action in this case. All these years there has been so many plantation schemes like Sterling Tree Magnum, Maxworth Orchards, Southern Greenfields and several others. Each one of these were promising very good returns. But they do not bother to even reply to any of your queries. Is there any way that we can ask SEBI to look into the matter of these or any other plantaition? Would appreciate your guidance.

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