New Delhi: The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) 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 Rs6,307 crore on 11 cement firms on charges of cartelization.
Hearing an appeal by cement companies, including UltraTech Cement Ltd and ACC Ltd, the tribunal also asked CCI not to take any coercive action in the matter till 11 October, when 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 Compat to grant an interim stay on 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 on Thursday included Ultra Tech, Lafarge India, India Cements Ltd, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, ACC, Binani Cement Ltd, Ambuja Cements Ltd, Madras Cement Ltd, J K Cement Ltd and Century Textiles.
On 21 June, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had slapped Rs.6,307 crore penalty on 11 cement makers. 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”.