Eleven cement makers whom the fair trade regulator CCI has found guilty of adopting anti-competitive practices, on Thursday approached Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) challenging its July 30 findings.
It issued notices to the Competition Commission of India and listed the matter for next hearing on November 22. The 3-member COMPAT bench, headed by its chairman Justice VS Sirpurkar, however, asked the CCI not to take any coercive action against Shree Cement Ltd against whom penalty of Rs 397.51 crore was imposed by the regulator on July 30.
CCI had not imposed penalty on the other 10 cement makers that day as it had done so already in a separate order passed on June 21. It had imposed R6,307 crore penalty on them, along with industry body Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), on charges of price cartelisation.
The cement firms have already challenged the June 21 order before the tribunal, and today's petitions were against the order passed by CCI on July 30 against them.
Compat also condoned the delay and admitted the petitions of Ambuja Cement and ACC Cement, which have filed their petitions around two weeks after the prescribed time limit to challenge the CCI order.
The other firms, which have moved Compat are — Madras Cement, Century Textile Industries, Binani Cement, Ultra Tech Cement, Lafarge India, JK Cement and Jai Prakash Associates.
On July 30, disposing of 6-year-old investigation, initiated by its predecessor trade regulator body Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practises Commission in 2006, the CCI had found the cement makers guilty.
MRTPC had initiated the enquiry in 2006 suo moto based on a media report on the rise of cement prices. It was also later supplemented with a complaint filed by the Builders Association of India. Meanwhile, the companies which were asked to pay penalty on June 21 were -- ACC, Ambuja Cements, Ultratech, Jaypee Cements, Grasim Cements now, Ultratech Cements, Lafarge India, JK Cement, India Cements, Madras Cements, Century Cements and Binani Cements.