New Delhi: Modifying its earlier order, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed PACL Ltd to sell property under the supervision and approval of the Lodha committee and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

In doing so, a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph shifted the onus of finding prospective buyers on PACL.

Dushyant Dave, counsel for a group of investors sought a modification of the court’s earlier order and told the court that Sebi had failed in performing its duty.

This was opposed by Arvind Datar, appearing for Sebi who said that Dave did not have locus to seek a modification of the order.

On 11 December, 2016, Sebi had initiated recovery proceedings against PACL and its promoters and directors, including Tarlochan Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Subrata Bhattacharya, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, Tyger Joginder, Gurnam Singh, Anand Gurwant Singh and Uppal Devinder Kumar, for their failure to refund Rs49,100 crore to investors.

The court also appointed a committee headed by former apex court judge R.M. Lodha to oversee the sale of assets and the process of refunding investors.

In August, 2015, Sebi had passed a refund order against the entities after finding them guilty of illegitimately pooling funds from the public through a collective investment scheme (CIS).

In 2004, Sebi directed the defaulters to wind up the schemes that were issued by PACL illegitimately to the public to raise funds. Sebi gave them three months to do so.

Upon receiving complaints from investors, Sebi had asked PACL to comply with CIS norms. The company challenged this before the high court of Rajasthan, which ordered in favour of PACL.

Subsequently, Sebi appealed before the Supreme Court, and in 2013, the apex court allowed the appeal and directed Sebi to investigate the matter and take appropriate action. The 2014 Sebi order followed.

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