The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has issued notices to fair trade regulator CCI on the pleas of three companies challenging its order imposing penalty of Rs 317.91 crore on the aluminium phosphide tablet manufacturers.
Aluminium phosphide tablets are used as a rodenticide, insecticide and fumigant for stored cereal grains. It is used mainly to kill moles and rodents.
The COMPAT bench headed by Chairman Justice V S Sirpurkar also questioned CCI for non-appearance in the matter despite notice over the petition of the two producers.
"Today, in spite of the notice in some matters, there is no representation on behalf of the CCI. We hope that this does not repeat on July 18, 2012," said the tribunal.
Three firms -- United Phosphorus, Excel Crop Care and Sandhya Organics Chemical -- have challenged CCI's findings before the COMPAT.
COMPAT had earlier issued notice on the plea of Excel Crop Care and Sandhya Organics in the last week of June.
Passing an order in April, CCI had imposed fine of Rs 317.91 crore on three manufactures for allegedly forming a cartel and manipulating bids of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to supply aluminium phosphide tablet.
The Commission had imposed Rs 252.44 crore fine on United Phosphorus and Rs 63.90 crore and Rs 1.57 crore respectively on Excel Crop Care and Sandhya Organics.
The penalty was computed on the basis of 9% of the average of three years turnover on the three producers.
CCI had ordered a probe after receiving complaints from the FCI.
The FCI had informed the fair trade regulator in February 2011 towards rise in cost of procurement, and apprehended formation of a cartel by the manufacturers.
The state procurement agency had further alleged that manufacturers had inflated the price in bids invited for preservation of the central pool foodgrain.