New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday dismissed a plea by cement manufacturers challenging the order of fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) to impose a penalty of ₹ 6,700 crore for alleged cartelization.
A two-member NCLAT bench headed by chairman justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya dismissed a batch of petitions by over 11 cement makers. “The appeals are dismissed," said the NCLAT, which now is an appellate authority over the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
In August 2016, the CCI had slapped approximately ₹ 6,700 crore penalty on 11 cement companies, including UltraTech Cement Ltd, ACC Ltd, Ambuja Cement Ltd, Ramco Cements Ltd and JK Cement Ltd, as well as industry body Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA), for indulging in cartelization.
This was challenged by the cement makers before the Competition Appellate Tribunal, which had on 22 November stayed the CCI’s direction to pay 10% of the penalty within a month of the order.
In the August 2016 order, apart from penalizing the CMA, the CCI had directed all the firms to “cease and desist" from indulging in any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market.
The CCI had imposed the highest penalty of ₹ 1,175.49 crore on Aditya Birla Group firm UltraTech.