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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) today said Supreme Court has dismissed a petition filed by tyre companies wherein they had challenged the regulator's order imposing penalties totalling over 1,788 crore on them for indulging cartelisation.

CCI imposed penalties of 425.53 crore on Apollo Tyres, 622.09 crore on MRF Ltd, 252.16 crore on CEAT Ltd, 309.95 crore on JK Tyre and 178.33 crore on Birla Tyres.

It also asked them to cease and desist from indulging in unfair business practices.

A fine of 8.4 lakh was imposed on ATMA and it was directed to disengage and disassociate itself from collecting wholesale and retail prices through the member tyre companies or otherwise. Also, certain individuals of the tyre companies and ATMA were held liable for the anti-competitive conduct, the release said.

Earlier in August 2018, the watchdog had imposed a total fine of more than 1,788 crore on Apollo Tyres, MRF, CEAT, Birla Tyres, JK Tyre and Industries and Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA).

The tyre manufacturers had exchanged price-sensitive data amongst them through their the platform of ATMA, and had taken collective decisions on the prices of tyres, the government statement read.

They were found to have violated Section 3 of the Competition Act during 2011-2012. The section prohibits anti-competitive agreements.

An appeal was filed against CCI order before the Madras High Court and the same was dismissed on 6 January this year.

"Aggrieved with the same, the tyre companies preferred SLPs (Special Leave Petitions) before the Hon'ble Supreme Court, which were dismissed vide its order dated 28.01.2022," the regulator said in a release on Wednesday.

CCI noted that the case was initiated on the basis of a reference received from the corporate affairs ministry and that the reference was based on a representation made by All India Tyre Dealers Federation (AITDF) to the ministry.

The regulator had found that the companies and the association indulged in cartelisation by acting in concert to increase the prices of cross ply/bias tyres variants sold by each of them in the replacement market and to limit and control production and supply in the market.

The watchdog, citing its order, said in the release that sharing of such sensitive information made the coordination easier amongst the tyre manufacturers.

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