SC directs refund pleas relating to PACL to Lodha panel

The court’s directions were passed on a Sebi application contending that various suits filed by investors should be heard by the committee


Sebi’s recovery order had come after a decision by the Supreme Court in the matter on 2 February, which directed the appointment of a special committee at Sebi. Photo: Mint
Sebi’s recovery order had come after a decision by the Supreme Court in the matter on 2 February, which directed the appointment of a special committee at Sebi. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed that all petitions relating to recovery proceedings against PACL Ltd be routed through a panel headed by former Supreme Court chief justice R.M. Lodha that was put in place exclusively for this purpose.

A bench headed by justice Anil R. Dave barred all other courts from hearing pleas seeking refunds from PACL, formerly known as Pearl Agrotech Corp. Ltd.

The court’s directions were passed on an application by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) contending that various suits had been filed by investors in courts in Punjab and Haryana, which should be heard by the committee.

Sebi in its application claimed that it would be in the “interest of justice” and help to prevent diversion of limited manpower and resources of both the court as well as the market regulator.

On 17 February, a committee headed by Lodha and four other members—S. Raman, Prashant Saran, Amit Pradhan and Rakesh Kumar Singh—was set up by the apex court to oversee disposal of the land purchased by PACL in order to refund people who had invested in various funds floated by the company for purchase of land.

Sebi’s recovery order had come after a decision by the Supreme Court in the matter on 2 February, which directed the appointment of a special committee at Sebi to execute the refund process for those investors who parked money in PACL investment schemes the regulator deemed illegal.

The market regulator on 11 December initiated recovery proceedings against PACL and its nine directors to refund Rs.49,100 crore with interest to around 50 million investors.