India's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday raided the offices of Associated Alcohols & Breweries and Som Distilleries as part of an investigation into alleged price fixing in liquor products, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) officials were conducting search and seizure operations across several cities and the case is about the companies allegedly violating anti-trust laws by colluding on prices while seeking necessary regulatory approvals from states, the sources added.
The investigation is looking at price fixing of so-called country liquor, or low-priced locally made alcohol, the sources added.
India has strict regulations for the alcohol sector. Most states individually regulate alcohol pricing and the companies need to submit and get prices approved every year by the local authorities.
The CCI did not respond to a request for comment. E-mails and phone calls to Associated Alcohols and Som Distilleries went unanswered.
Further details of the case and the raids were not available from the CCI as the agency typically does not make public information on its investigations.
Associated's website says it is the leading supplier of liquor to the government of Madhya Pradesh for sales in the state. SOM Group, which includes Som Distilleries, has a portfolio of brands that includes spirits and beer products.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Christian Schmollinger)
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