The Allahabad High Court Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by M/S Namrata Marketing Private Limited — which had got four sugar mills in the controversial disinvestment of government’s sugar mills in the state by the Mayawati government — against an order issued by Competition Commission of India (CCI) asking company to submit certain details and documents.
The CCI had sought documents in connection with an investigation it initiated suo motu early this year on the basis of a CAG report, which had indicted the state over disinvestment of 21 sugar mills at throwaway prices. The CAG had, in detail, pointed out towards bid rigging in its report.
The company sought extension of time for filing the details. However, May 28, the CCI refused its application. The petitioner then approached HC against the same.
One of the main grounds was that the CCI had no material basis for starting the investigation, as the said CAG report had been challenged in the court.
The other ground was that the matter be kept in abeyance since there were a few petitions - in which the policy of sugar mills’ sale of the state government was challenged - that were yet to be disposed of by the Supreme Court.
Passing the order, a Division Bench of Justices Sheo Kumar Singh and Pradeep Kumar Singh Baghel, said: “We are of the view that no prejudice shall be caused to petitioner in case it submits the necessary information/documents to the Director General in response to the impugned notice dated 28th May, 2013. Thus, the petition lacks merit and is liable to be dismissed."
Rejecting the petitioner’s contention that the matter be kept in abeyance till other pleas in this regard are disposed of, the court said: “Learned counsel for the petitioner has not cited any law in support of his submission that if similar issue is involved in a case pending before the superior court, the statutory authority should keep their hands off till the decision of the court.”
Further, the court cited several Supreme Court decisions to say that it cannot be said there was no material evidence before the Director General, CCI, to start an investigation.
The sale of 21 sugar companies, owned by UP State Sugar Corporation Limited and Uttar Pradesh Rajya Chini Evam Ganna Vikas Nigam Limited, during Mayawati regime to private bidders had led to a loss of around Rs 1,179 crore to the exchequer, the CAG report had