The Chief Minister Amarinder Singh dispensation today expressed its inability to take action against PACL, which had allegedly collected more than Rs 60,000 crore through illegal collective investment, saying the company was not registered with the Punjab government. However, the government was in the process of introducing a fresh Bill to deal with such fraudulent cases, state Finance Minister informed the Assembly today.
To a question of AAP MLA Aman Arora, whether the state government was taking any action against the erring chit fund companies/persons by tracing their benami properties as per the instructions of Lodha Committee set up by the Supreme Court. “No Sir. PACL is not registered with the state government. The state government takes action against those chit fund companies which are registered with the state government,” Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said in a written reply, tabled in the ongoing budget session today.
The Supreme Court has constituted the Lodha Committee to dispose off properties of the PACL limited so that the sale proceeds can be paid off to the investors, the minister said. Replying to question on whether the government was making any special legal provision to curb such fraudulent cases, the minister said that the Punjab Protection of Interests of Depositors’ (in Financial Establishments) Bill, 2015 was passed by Punjab Vidhan Sabha in September 2015.
“The Bill was sent to the government of India for President’s assent. The government of India has made few comments and observations on the Bill which are included. “As per the advice of LR, the Bill has to be withdrawn formally and a fresh bill is to be passed by the state legislature. The process to withdraw the Bill has already been initiated,” the minister said. He further said that a total of 63 cases have been registered against 19 chit fund companies from April 1, 2012 till March 31, 2017.
Notably, PACL, which had raised money from public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses, was found by Sebi to have collected more than Rs 60,000 crore through illegal collective investment schemes over a period of 18 years. The Supreme Court-appointed R M Lodha committee was overseeing disposal of PACL assets so as to refund the affected investors.