CCI seeks information from Telecom Min on spectrum auctions
New Delhi: The Competition Commission has sought information from the Telecom Ministry on the recent spectrum auctions to ascertain whether the auctioning process violated competition norms.
The move comes against the backdrop of reports and allegations that cartelisation among players during the spectrum auctions led to tepid response.
In response to a query on whether the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into the process of recent spectrum auctions, its Chairman Ashok Chawla today said the regulator has written to the Telecom Ministry on the issue.
"I don't think we have received anything yet... It (communication) was on the basis of what appeared in the media that the process of auction was anti-competitive. That's what appeared in the public domain.
"We are trying to understand whether it was actually anti competitive or not in terms of the factual position," he told to reporters on the sidelines of a conference organised by industry body Assocham.
In November, 2012 and March, 2013, the government had put on auction more than half of the spectrum that was freed after the Supreme Court in February last year cancelled 122 mobile permits issued by the then Telecom Minister A Raja to nine telecom companies in 2008.
The auctions got tepid response from operators and fetched the government a fraction of the amount that was projected.
Meanwhile, to another query on alleged cartelisation by oil marketing companies in fixing petrol prices, Chawla said the matter is being investigated by the Commission.
The Director General, the investigation arm of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), is probing the issue.
The investigation follows clarification by the Petroleum Ministry that it was not responsible for petrol prices since it is deregulated.
Earlier, the Commission had written to the Petroleum Ministry to ascertain whether the pricing by companies is done in a particular manner under the guidance of the Ministry, since petrol prices are almost close to each other and they moved up or down at the same point in time.
Speaking at the conference on 'Interface between Intellectual Property & Competition Law', Chawla said that both norms help in the country's technical and economic progress.
Meanwhile, Chawla also said that the Commission is closely studying various practices in the pharmaceutical industry.