A day after market regulator SEBI directed property developer PACL to refund a minimum Rs 29,420.65 crore collected from 58.5 million investors within three months and shut shop, company sources said they would likely file a writ petition instead of appealing the order at the Securities Appellate Tribunal.
PACL (or Pearl Agrotech Corporation Ltd ) is promoted by real estate developer Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, also known for sponsoring Kings Punjab XI in IPL4, the 2013 India-West Indies ODI and T20 series, mixed martial arts programme Super Fight League on ESPN and Golf Premier League promoted by businessman Raj Kundra and actor Sanjay Dutt.
When HT contacted company advocate Sameer Parekh, he denied knowledge of any such decision by PACL. “I will be meeting them only on Monday. I have no instruction or information since I have not discussed anything with them,” he said.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for PACL before SEBI, refused comment.
So did the company’s law officer, Meeta Sharma.
In a statement Friday, PACL had said, “SEBI has failed to recognize the submissions of the company, that it can’t be treated like a CIS (collective investment scheme). The company would now appeal this order before the Securities Appellate Tribunal.”
But the sources said Saturday that PACL could take the writ petition route instead. “The advantage of bringing in new evidence and pointing to issues ignored by SEBI is possible in a writ petition. An appeal before SAT would only look into a very limited aspect of the order and may not have the scope to provide the relief PACL and its promoters are seeking,” one source said.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s finding show that between March 2012 and June 2014, PACL mobilized about `49,000 crore from its customers.
PACL was a finance company in 1983-1987. It put money from investors in farm land and assured returns based on agricultural performance. Currently, it has construction projects in north, west and south India and has expanded into tourism, hospitality, medical colleges and investments in hotels in Australia.
In November 2008, it entered the media with Pearl Broadcasting Corporation.
Sources in SEBI said the CBI and Delhi Police have been informed of the order and they may take appropriate action soon. However, the CBI said the case was between SEBI and the courts.