INDIA. Mumbai: Ten people were arrested in connection with the illegal sale of land belonging to defunct Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL) by a special Anekal sub-division team of Bengaluru police of Karnataka on Friday.
Two others- a police inspector B K Kishore Kumar, and a private firm owner Prateek Kumar, are still at large. Prateek Kumar has reportedly run away to a foreign country
The arrested persons include: Advocate Manjunath B S., Chandramohan, Srinivasa, Pruthvin J, Nirmal Daulat Torane, Shivaputra Tanga (a senior sub-registrar of Attibele office), Anil Kumar, Praveen Kumar B K, D N Srinivas and Ayush Tapha (Uttarakhand).
The preliminary charge sheet has been filed against two firms-Woodsville Projects and Megastructures Infracon. Police have seized land documents, sale deeds, a laptop, a DVR, a hard disk, and the mobile phones of the accused.
Advocate Manjunath B S is accused in three cases, two of which were registered in 2017 at Devanhalli Police station and are under trial.
IGP, Central Range, M Chandrasekhar, told electronic media that a case had been registered in Attibele police station (Bengaluru urban district) against fraudulent registration of land belonging to PACL located at M Medahalli in Anekal.
PACL’s 13 acres of land (survey No 11) at M Medahalli, worth over Rs 15 crore, was fraudulently registered in the names of Chandramohan, Srinivasa, and Pruthvin and was sold to unsuspecting buyers.
The land belonging to PACL, attached by the Justice R M Lodha Committee set up by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), violates the committees’ directions.
The Committee was set up as per Supreme Court directions. The land was scheduled to be auctioned, and the amount was due to be paid to people who invested in PACL.
The accused were arrested based on a complaint filed by a duped investor Sridhar, with the Attibele police station in September this year.
PACL was set up in Jaipur (Rajasthan) on February 13, 1996, as a collective incentive scheme offering land at cheaper rates. SEBI wound it up on August 22, 2014, and attached its properties in December 2015.
The SEBI set up the Justice R M Lodha Committee on February 02, 2016, to sell the PACL properties to refund investors’ money.
The Committee ordered the auction sale of 27,133 PACL properties on July 25, 2016. Over 5.50 crore investors have been duped to Rs. 49,100 crores (now the amount swelled to Rs 60,000 crore with accumulated interest) by offering them land at cheaper rates, although the PACL did not possess even an inch of land.
Till now, Rs.831.78 crore has been refunded to 18.43 lakh investors. The prime accused, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, and 15 others are facing trial. One of the accused, Kanwaljit Toor, died in custody in January this year.