Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) ordered attachment of properties related to PACL Ltd in an illegal fundraising case as part of efforts to recover thousands of crores of investors’ money. According to SEBI’s notice, the properties being attached are land parcels situated at Banur in Punjab.
SEBI’s investigations had earlier revealed that PACL, which had raised money from the public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses, collected more than Rs60,000 crore through illegal collective investment schemes (CISs) over 18 years. Moneylife
had extensively reported on the PACL scam and you can read it here
The attachment order comes after the department of industries & commerce in Punjab, informed the Justice RM Lodha (retd) Committee appointed by the Supreme Court in the PACL matter about the properties belonging to the company. The committee directed SEBI's recovery officer to attach these properties.
Accordingly, the market regulator has attached these properties and prohibited all the persons associated with the properties from disposing of, transferring, or alienating these assets, as per the notice. SEBI also prohibited entities concerned "from taking any benefit under such disposal, transfer, alienation or charge in respect of the properties… which stands attached in execution of recovery certificate."
The entities have also been directed to furnish complete details of all the moveable and immoveable properties held by them, and charges if any, in a prescribed format, along with original title deeds pertaining to the four properties within two weeks.
In December 2015, SEBI had attached various bank, demat accounts, and mutual fund holdings of PACL and its promoters as well as directors after they failed to pay dues.
In February 2019, a committee headed by retired justice Lodha had initiated the process of refunds in phases for investors, who had invested in PACL. PACL (or Pearls) is one of the largest Ponzi schemes in India which had been allowed to run for decades amassing over Rs60,000 crore. The committee had asked PACL investors to submit online applications for refund.
The justice Lodha committee has been processing applications received from investors in a phased manner, slab-wise and, currently, applications with claim amount up to Rs10,000 have been processed and payments have been made in respect of eligible claim applications.
The committee has successfully effected refunds to more than 12.7 lakh investors, with claims up to Rs10,000, aggregating to Rs438.34 crore as of March 2021.