The Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed former chief justice of India, R M Lodha, as head of a committee to probe the PACL ponzi scam. The committee will take over the assets of PACL (formerly Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited) and group companies and refund the investors from whom Rs 49,000 crore is said to have been collected. Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India), which is the capital market regulator, has been told to co-ordinate asset sale and refund.
Supreme Court told the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), which was probing the scam for over two years, to hand over the documents to the committee. The Supreme Court barred other courts from hearing petitions on the scam. PACL has also been barred from collecting funds from the public. The CBI has already arrested the group chief Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, who is accused of cheating 50 million investors by promising land in return for money. The group is said to have land in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Maharashtra. It is also said that the group has assets in Australia.
Sebi had started its probe two years ago after receiving complaints from investors. It had initiated recovery proceedings against the company, its promoters, and directors. The company then challenged Sebi in the Rajasthan High Court, which granted it relief. Sebi then appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked Sebi to investigate and take action.
Some directors and promoters appealed to the Supreme Court. They included Tarlochan Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurmeet Singh, and Subrata Bhattacharya. Some of them appealed against CBI action in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will hear the case on August 2.