COMPAT serves notice to CCI in cement cartelisation case

COMPAT serves notice to CCI in cement cartelisation case New Delhi: Competition Appellate Tribunal on Thursday served notices to the Competition Commission and the Builders Association of India, on whose complaint the fair trade regulator had imposed a penalty of Rs 6,307 crore on 11 cement firms on charges of cartelisation.

Hearing an appeal by cement companies, including UltraTech and ACC, the tribunal also asked the CCI not to take any coercive action in the matter till October 11, when the COMPAT would next hear the case.

In their petitions, the cement firms have requested the tribunal to quash the entire CCI order. They have also requested the COMPAT to grant an interim stay on the CCI's penalty till the tribunal decides on their petitions.

Industry body Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) has also challenged CCI's findings along with the producers.

The companies whose petitions were heard today included Ultra Tech Cement, Lafarge India, India Cement, Jai Prakash Associates, Associated Cement Corporation (ACC), Binani Cement, Ambuja Cement, Madras Cement, J K Cement and Century Textiles.

On June 21, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had slapped Rs 6,307 crore penalty on 11 cement makers. The CMA was also fined Rs 73 lakh and was asked to deposit the amount within 90 days.

"The act and conduct of the cement companies establish that they are a cartel. The Commission holds that the cement companies acting together have limited, controlled and also attempted to control the production and price in the market in India," CCI had said in its 258-page order.

CCI had found "cement manufacturers in violation of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 which deals with anti-competitive agreements including cartels".

The order was passed following probe by its Director General (Investigation) on a complaint filed by Builders Association, which has hailed the order saying "it was long-pending and the penalty could have been higher".

PTI