SEBI asks Saradha to wind up schemes, return money to depositors
Kolkata: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday directed Saradha Realty India Ltd and its managing director Sudipta Sen to wind up its existing collective investment schemes and refund the money collected with returns which are due to the investors within three months as it had contravened SEBI provisions by launching such schemes without its permission.
"Since the noticee (Saradha Realty India Ltd) has launched 'collective investment schemes' without obtaining certificate of registration from SEBI, it has contravened provisions of Section 12(1B) of the SEBI Act and regulation 3 of the CIS Regulations," the order said, on a day Sen was arrested from Jammu and Kashmir.
Last week, the Saradha Group went bust and its offices downed shutters, unable to repay the depositors - mainly poor people in villages and small towns of West Bengal who had parked their hard earned money with the company, lured by the promise of high interest rates.
In an order, the SEBI directed that the company would have to submit a winding up and repayment report in accordance with the CIS regulations.
The capital market regulator said if the company failed to comply with the order, prosecution proceedings would be initiated against Saradha Realty and its directors.
It also said in such an eventuality, the matter would be referred to the state government or the local police to register civil/criminal cases against Saradha Realty India Ltd and its directors and its officials in charge of the schemes "for apparent offences of fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds".
The SEBI order, signed by its wholetime member Rajeev Kumar Agarwal, said the matter would also be referred to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, to initiate the process of winding up of Saradha Realty India Ltd.
The SEBI further directed Saradha Realty India Ltd and Sen not to access the capital market and "restrain and prohibit" from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in the securities market till all its collective investment schemes were would up "and all the monies mobilised through them are refunded to the investors".
The regulator had been inquiring into the operations and activities of the company after it received a letter exactly three years back from the Economic Offences Investigation Cell of West Bengal, informing that the company was collecting contributions of money from the public.