The Competition Appellate Tribunal today directed cement companies to pay 10 per cent of a Rs 6,307-crore penalty imposed on them by fair trade regulator CCI for forming cartel in the sector. The cement companies charged with cartelisation include Ambuja Cement,Lafarge India,India Cement,JP Associates,Binani Cement,Madras Cement and J K Cement.
Passing an interim order,a COMPAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice V S Sirpurkar asked 11 cement producers along with their lobby group Cement Manufacturer’s Association (CMA) to pay around Rs 630 crore within a month.
The tribunal also clarified that if the cement firms fail to deposit the amount within a 30 days time-frame,their petition would be dismissed.
The matter would now come up for final hearing in August.
COMPAT had reserved its order over a batch of petitions filed by various cement producers and CMA on March 18 this year after hearing them on interim plea.
In the petitions,the cement producers had challenged Rs 6,307 crore penalty imposed on them by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Rs 73 lakh fine imposed on the CMA.
“The act and conduct of the cement companies establish that they are a cartel. The Commission holds that the cement companies acting together have limited,controlled and also attempted to control the production and price in the market in India,” CCI had said in its 258-page order.
CCI had found “cement manufacturers in violation of the provisions of the Competition Act,2002 which deals with anti-competitive agreements,including cartels”.
The order was passed following probe by CCI Director General (Investigation) on a complaint filed by Builders Association.