Independent directors of Coal India Ltd (CIL) have asked the company to take up the issue of penalty, slapped by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on the company for abusing its dominant position, in its upcoming board meeting.
The board meeting, scheduled on Monday, is being held to consider special dividend to the government in lieu of shelving the disinvestment in the company.
However, with the competition watchdog levying a penalty of Rs 1,773.05 crore on the miner for abusing its monopoly in non-coking coal supply, the independent directors have asked CIL to list this as a special item on agenda.
“We want the issue to be discussed in the board meeting as CIL needs to take a principled stand on the issue,” Alok Perti, former coal secretary, and independent director of Coal India, told The Indian Express.
There are three independent directors in the 12-member board. The board is expected to finalise the strategy before approaching the Competition Appellate Tribunal for an appeal.
Early during the week, the CCI had directed the company to cease and desist from anti-competitive practices and said that the company is operating independently of market forces and enjoys an undisputed dominance in the country for production and supply of non-coking coal.
The regulator also ordered the company to modify the fuel supply agreements (FSAs) after consulting stakeholders. The CIL had said that it would initiate “appropriate legal action” in this regard.
Geeta Gourie, member, CCI, said, “We have looked at the quantity and quality issue. The two public sector entities had come to us like any other generating station. All of them have to depend on coal from CIL. We looked at it from the angle of a sector which is so important for the economic growth.”
The complaints had been filed by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company and Gujarat State Electricity Corp against Coal India and three subsidiaries.