Sebi launches auction process for PACL assets


To recover funds totalling about Rs 60,000 crore for repayment to investors in the PACL case, markets regulator Sebi today initiated sale process for the attached assets of the group and said an e-auction would be held for some properties on July 5. Two properties of PACL, also known as Pearl Group, in the national capital — a spacious office property in the central Connaught Place area and a residential plot in Nangloi — would be put up for an e-auction on July 5 at reserve prices of Rs 29.59 crore and Rs 90 lakh respectively, Sebi said today. The interested bidders can inspect the property on June 9, and they would need to deposit 10 per cent of the reserve price as earnest money by June 27. PACL, which had raised money from the public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses, was found by Sebi to have collected these funds through illegal collective investment schemes over a period of 18 years. Pursuant to a Supreme Court order, Sebi had set up a high-level committee to ensure that refunds are made to the genuine investors after sale of attached PACL assets. Subsequently, Sebi has roped in HDFC Realty for the auction. The panel, chaired by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, is overseeing the process of disposing of properties to refund money to investors after verifying their genuineness. The market regulator has already issued a detailed set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in 13 languages, including English and Hindi, about the refund process. Last December, Sebi ordered attachment of all assets of PACL and its nine promoters and directors for their failure to refund more than Rs 60,000 crore due to investors – the biggest amount for any such case. PACL had 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 the Sebi order. Besides, PACL’s group firm PGFL “illegally mobilised more than Rs 5,000 crore and failed to refund the same in spite of directions of Sebi and SAT”, the regulator had said while initiating the recovery proceedings. The proceedings were initiated against PACL Ltd, as also its promoters and directors Tarlochan Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Subrata Bhattacharya, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, Tyger Joginder, Gurnam Singh, Anand Gurwant Singh and Uppal Devinder Kumar. Recovery proceedings were launched “for their failure to refund an amount of Rs 49,100 crores with return due to investors, along with further interest and all costs, charges and expenses incurred in the recovery proceedings”. Sebi had asked them 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 a period of three months from the date of the order.