After having acted tough on cement companies for cartelisation, Competition Commission of India (CCI) has taken up a suo-moto inquiry against milk retailing players.
The milk retailers were alleged to have indulged into price cartelisation by making frequent price rise in a short span of time. The competition watchdog has decided to take an inquiry on its own to decide if the milk companies and cooperatives operational in the country are guilty of cartelisation or not. "We have taken up a suo-moto inquiry against them (milk retailing players). It is presently at the initial stage," Ashok Chawla, chairman, CCI told Business Standard on the sidelines of a function held in Ahmedabad on Friday.
After slapping the cement companies with a heavy penalty of over Rs 6,000 crore on 11 major cement companies including ACC, Ambuja Cements, Ultratech and Jaypee Cements along with the industry body Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) for creating a cartel, next on radar are tyre companies.
Chawla mentioned that an inquiry is on against tyre companies for violation of competition law. "Real estate, pharmaceuticals, aviation, telecom and tyre industries are on our radar. The inquiry against tyre companies is in the advanced stage and a decision can be expected anytime soon," he informed. Chawla was in Ahmedabad to deliver an inaugural address at the lecture series of 'Competition, Economic Policy & Common Man' jointly organised by Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA) and FICCI - Gujarat.
Chawla also hinted that the commission would take a note of the increase in petroleum prices by oil companies. When asked if CCI is considering any action against the public sector oil companies, which are being alleged to operate in unison to increase the petroleum prices, even when the international crude prices have declined, Chawla said, "We will take a note of that."
Further, in order to overcome the disconnect between the government policy and competition law in the country, a proposal has been mooted to form a Cabinet Committee on Competition. "A proposal has been put forward to have a Cabinet Committee on Competition under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Proposal is with the Cabinet at present and it will take a decision on that," Chawla stated.
About 267 matters relating to violation of section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act came up to the CCI.
The matters were from sectors like insurance, automobiles, real estate, pharmaceuticals, financial services and entertainment industry. "Of these, in over 200 cases we have issued a final order, while penalty has been imposed wherever needed," he said.