CCI issues important order under Lesser Penalty Provisions in the cartel case by leading Indian Zinc-Carbon Dry Cell Battery Manufacturers
In recent months, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has passed quite a few orders against entities for indulging in cartelisation, especially in bidding process. In some cases, the regulator has slashed the penalties on the entities concerned after invoking leniency provisions under the competition law.
"When we have issued orders, they are very cautious. In the board room, they don't leave any evidence. So the only way is through leniency (provisions) and in the cartel there is a fundamental principle, one or the other member will cheat on the cartel," he said.
He also said that "leniency (provisions) is the way" for enforcement.
Under the Competition Act, enterprises as well as individuals can seek leniency.
Last month, the watchdog invoked leniency provisions wherein quantum of fines were reduced for various entities and for one entity the whole penalty amount was waived off in a case of cartelisation in pricing of zinc-carbon dry cell batteries.
A total fine of Rs 215 crore was imposed on Eveready, Indo National, industry grouping AIDCM (Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers) and their officials for cartelisation in that case. However, the quantum of penalties on Eveready, Indo National as well as their officials were reduced.
The fine was completely waived in the case of Panasonic Energy India, which was also involved in anti-competitive practices.
Earlier this month, the regulator significantly reduced the penalties on four firms and their executives in the case of cartelisation with respect to tenders floated by Pune Municipal Corporation. In this matter, the CCI had imposed a total fine of more than Rs 3.5 crore on six firms and some of their executives.
The CCI has the mandate to keep a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.
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