Facing a Sebi order with charges of running an illicit money pooling scheme worth more than R49,100 crore, Pearl Agrotech Corporation (PACL) said it will approach the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) against the recent directive of the capital markets regulator directing the firm to refund the said amount within a period of three months.
Compared to Sahara, which had raised R25,000 crore from approximately 2.3 crore investors via optionally fully convertible debentures, PACL has managed to mobilise more than R49,000 crore from over 5 crore customers. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), in its order, has observed that the entire amount raised would have been much higher had PACL provided the details of the funds mobilised during the period of April 1, 2012 to February 25, 2013.
Earlier, Sebi had also dismissed a repayment scheme that the company had put forward for consideration of the watchdog. On March 31 PACL had submitted that it had 4.63 crore customers, to whom it owed an amount of Rs 29,420.65 crore. The company had assured Sebi that it will discontinue all the existing schemes/ plan(s) which are subject matter of the proceedings before the watchdog, adding that no new schemes will be launched in future.
Additionally, PACL had told Sebi that the agreements of such customers will continue up to next five years or the end of their tenure. The company had stated that customers would be provided land as per their schemes or money would be returned to them, in accordance with their choice.
However, the watchdog had shot down the proposal on the ground that the company merely had assets of Rs 11,706.96 crore out of which it was to satisy claims of over 4.63 crore customers who had deposited Rs 29,420 crore but also make provisions for 1.22 crore customers who had been allotted land without sale deeds being executed in their favour.
Reacting to the Sebi order, PACL, in a statement said, “Sebi has unfortunately failed to recognize the submissions of the company that it can't be treated like a CIS. The company would now appeal this order before the Securities Appellate Tribunal.”