Competition Commission of India: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found Nair Coal Services Pvt. Ltd., Karam Chand Thapar & Bros (CS) Ltd. and Naresh Kumar & Co. Pvt. Ltd.  to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1) read with Section 3(3)(c) and Section 3(3)(d) of the Competition Act, 2002 for acting in a collusive and concerted manner which eliminated and lessened the competition besides manipulating the bidding process in respect of the tenders floated by Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (MAHAGENCO) for award of contract of coal liasoning work for its various thermal power stations.

Taking a serious view of the collusive conduct of coal liasoning agents, CCI opined that the case fell in the category of hard core cartels as the parties reached an agreement to submit collusive tenders and to divide the markets which warranted the matter to be dealt with utmost severity. Accordingly, CCI invoked the stringent provision of the law which enables it to impose a higher penalty in case of agreements entered into by cartels. Hence, a penalty at the rate of 2 times of the total profits earned from provision of coal liasoning services to all power generators for continuance of the cartel for 2010-11 to 2012-13 years was imposed upon the parties. Resultantly, CCI has imposed a penalty of Rs. 7.16 crore, Rs. 111.60 crore and Rs. 16.92 crore upon NCSL, KCT and NKC for the anti-competitive conduct. Besides, a cease and desist order was also issued against the above companies.

CCI has also deprecated the conduct of the Informant in breaching the confidentiality and sanctity of the inquiry by circulating copies of the investigation report to B.S.N Joshi & Sons Ltd.- a rival of the Opposite Parties – who, in turn, forwarded copies thereof to various authorities. [Surendra Prasad v. Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd., Case No. 61 of 2013, decided on 10.01.2018]

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