Apex court to hear PACL investors’ plea for Rs 500 cr refund

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New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2015 2:14:19 AM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hear the PACL Employees and Customers Protection Forum's petition seeking the refund of over Rs 500 crore to investors from Kerala, who had invested in the company's collective investment schemes (CIS) that has been held as illegal by market regulator Sebi.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hear the PACL Employees and Customers Protection Forum’s petition seeking the refund of over Rs 500 crore to investors from Kerala, who had invested in the company’s collective investment schemes (CIS) that has been held as illegal by market regulator Sebi.

The money was allegedly collected by the Nirmal Singh Bhangoo-managed group through its two companies — PACL and Pearls Golden Forest Ltd — in Ponzi schemes under the garb of sale and development of agricultural land.

A bench headed by justice T S Thakur said that the petition will be heard along with another petition filed by PACL promoters against the sectoral tribunal’s order.

Sebi counsel Pratap Venugopal submitted that there was indeed a scam, much bigger than Sahara but with the difference that in the Pearl Agrotech Corporation (PACL) case all the depositors are genuine.

The investors/customers and employees of PACL from Kerala have also sought direction to Sebi to include them in the pending petition and ensure repayment of their dues. It also wants the apex court to appoint a special committee to probe the affairs of PACL and undertake the task of refunding money to its investors. The SC had appointed a special committee to probe other companies of the Pearls group and had also cleared the decks for sale of more than 10,000 properties of the group’s companies.

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