The Congress party on Thursday issued a statement through one of its official social media handles voicing its commitment towards the victims of various chit fund scams, and victims of the Pearl Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL) fraud in particular.
Press release on the various chit fund scams and Congress party’s measures to help the victims of the fraud. pic.twitter.com/Ma0Br8n3pD
— INC Sandesh (@INCSandesh) April 25, 2019
In its statement, the Congress party said, “The Congress party wishes to state that within 6 months of government formation, 5.85 crore families afflicted by PACL will be ensured payment with interest according to the February 2, 2016 decision of the Supreme Court as well as pass stringent laws to curb such scams which attack the right to dignity of each citizen.”
The Congress party appears to have picked up the issue after The Wire ran a story regarding some victims of the fraud protesting the issue at Narendra Modi’s rally in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. In its report, the leftist propaganda website alleged that no concrete steps have been taken by the NDA government to refund the money as per the directions of the Supreme Court.
But in reality, the SEBI has been soliciting applications from those who had invested money in PACL. The last date for submitting these applications is 30th of April, 2019. SEBI had already initiated the procedure of returning Rs. 49,000 crores to 6 crore investors in February.
As for the fraud itself, it dates back to 1997 when PACL first began mobilization of funds. After receiving a complaint, SEBI in 1999 issued letters directing the PACL to comply with the provisions of the collective investment scheme (CIS) Regulations. The PACL took the matter to the Courts and claimed that its scheme did not fall under CIS and challenged the constitutional validity of the CIS itself. The matter spent a lot of time in the Court the following years.
Ultimately, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in 2015 directed PACL and its promoter-director to refund the money within 3 months. And in 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that that the money lying in the bank accounts of the company and other cash belonging to it should be released in favour of SEBI so that the money can be refunded to the investors.
And as mentioned above, SEBI initiated the process of returning the money in February this and the last date for applying for a refund ends is the last day of the month of April. Therefore, a major step in the process in returning the money will be concluded even before the elections are concluded, and the Congress party will have nothing to do even it somehow comes to power.