Sebi asks Ramel Industries to repay funds raised via debentures

Sebi has directed Ramel Industries, its promoters and directors, to refund the money which it had collected from public through issuance of debentures, within two months along with 15 per cent interest.

Besides, Ramel Industries and its promoters/directors have been barred from raising money from public as well as access the capital market "till the expiry of three years from the date of completion of refund".

According to Sebi, Ramel Industries had issued optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) in the garb of private placement and had not filed any prospectus with regard to the same with the capital market regulator.

The firm had allegedly solicited Rs 60.86 crore from 31,582 investors through issue of OFCDs between 2009-2012.

In an order on Thursday, Sebi asked Ramel Industries and its promoters/directors to refund "within two months" the money raised through OFCDs in 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 to the subscribers of the issue.

The company also has to pay "interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum from the date of receipt of money till the date of such refund or the redemption value as promised and accrued till the date of refund, whichever is higher".

Such refund has to be made only in cash through demand draft or pay order, the market regulator said.

Further, the company has to file a "certificate of such completion with Sebi from two independent peer reviewed Chartered Accountants who are in the panel of any public authority or public institution".

Besides, the promoters/directors of Ramel Industries -- Rameswar Podder, Ramendra Mohan Sarkar, Sukanta Deb and Partha Das -- are "restrained from associating themselves with any listed public company and any public company which intends to raise money from the public till the expiry of three years from the date of completion of refund as directed".

According to Sebi findings, as the number of persons to whom the OFCDs issued by Ramel Industries was more than 49, it would be qualified "as a public issue by virtue of the provisions...Of the Companies Act, 1956 which has been elucidated by the Supreme Court of India in the Sahara Order".

Among others, Sebi said the issue would attract the requirement of compulsory listing before a recognised stock exchange which the company failed to do.

Moreover, Sebi found -- Rabi Das, Samaresh Mukherjee and Shyamalendu Sarkar -- as debenture trustees for the issue by Ramel Industries "were not eligible to be appointed as debenture trustee" as they were not registered with the market watchdog.

Sebi began looking into the matter after it received a reference from the Additional Director General of Police, Bureau of Investigation (E.O.), Guwahati.

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