Background and object of the 'one man Committee'
More than 100 Public Interest Litigations were filed before Hon'ble High Court, Calcutta in respect of chit fund companies including MPS Group of Companies and allied groups. Investors of the companies approached the Hon'ble Court contending that the money invested by them in the chit fund companies, through became payable, are not paid and they sought several directions. Considering the extent of all ramifications in the circulation of money collected from general public by different chit fund companies in the name of money circulation schemes, the Hon'ble Court enquired into the bonafides and genuineness of the financier. The so called financier did not turn up to give proposal to solve the problem of investors.
The Hon'ble Court felt that if the Court takes up these matters for implementation of a mechanism for repayment to investors, the other work of the Court would be hampered. The Hon'ble Court opined that if a separate Committee is constituted for implementing a process to create a corpus by selling properties, both movable and immovable, of the chit fund companies by public auction and a proper scheme is framed for paying the amounts due to the investors, it would not only give relief to the investors but save lot of judicial hours. All the parties to the above litigations readily agreed when the name of Justice Sailendra Prasad Talukdar, former Judge of High Court, Calcutta was suggested as head of the Committee.
On 23/12/2015, Hon'ble Division Bench, High Court, Calcutta comprising Hon’ble Justict Manjula Chellur, the then Chief Justice and Hon’ble Justice Joymalya Bagchi passed order in M.A.T. 559 to 2015, M.A.T. 512 of 2015, CAN 3608 of 2015, CAN 11187 of 2015, CAN 11464 of 2015 appointing Hon'ble Justice Sailendra Prasad Talukdar as 'One man Committee' to deal with the matters so far as the following reference:-
- "To identify, make inventory and secure all the records of the appellant group of companies and its directors in respect of movable, immovable properties including those seized by the police including like the original sale deeds and other document like fixed deposit receipts, etc. belonging to the above MPS Group of Companies with the assistance of machinery of the state and the Central namely State Police, CBI and SEBI etc..
- To ascertain the name and other particulars of depositors (other than agents) and to verify their applications to ascertain the exact amount of deposit invested by them.
- To dispose of all the assets movable and immovable belonging to the MPS Group of Companies and its directors by public auction.
- If moneys are payable to the MPS Group of Companies, recover the same and to credit to the corpus fund to be created for the purpose of the scheme by attaching movable, immovable properties, Bank accounts etc.
- After completing the process of sale and identifying the names of the investors and the amounts due to them the committee will formulate a scheme which has to be placed before the Court for approval.
- Upon such approval the Committee shall disburse the amounts to the depositors (Other than agents) after due identification in terms of sanctioned scheme."
The Committee is permitted to open Bank account in any nationalized bank for the purpose of depositing the corpus fund to be operated by the persons authorized by the Committee.
If any criminal case has been initiated or to be initiated at the instance of the State machinery or Union of India like CBI, SEBI or ED they are permitted to secure copies of all the necessary papers with the leave of the above Committee.
Hon'ble High Court, Calcutta directed the State Government to provide proper arrangement and infrastructure for functioning of the Committee by 31.01.2016 so that the ne man Committee can start functioning from 01.02.2016. The State Government was also directed to pay remuneration to the one man Committee and make provision for the office space, supporting staff etc.
Liberty has been given by Hon'ble High Court to the Committee to take assistance of experts like Chartered Accountant, Property Surveyor and Valuer etc. for effective implementation of the scheme. State and other agencies including the chit fund companies were directed to render all requisite assistance to the Committee.