Fair trade regulator CCI has slapped penalties totalling about Rs 40 crore on 51 entities for bid rigging in supply of cylinders to oil marketing company HPCL. Besides, the regulator has imposed a total fine of Rs 45.26 lakh on officials of the firms for violating competition norms. The 51 firms are based in different states of the country.
In a 131-page order, CCI said, “any collusion in rigging tenders in public procurement costs exchequer on account of anti-competitive bids, besides resulting in higher cost to end-consumers for whom a cylinder is a necessary input for their daily requirements”. The penalty follows an allegation of collusive bid rigging for tender floated in January 2013, after the commission received an anonymous complaint.
The tender pertained to supply of 40 lakh cylinders to HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Company Ltd) to its bottling plants located in 18 states. After prima-facie finding evidence of alleged bid rigging, CCI in 2014 directed its investigation arm, Director General (DG) to conduct a detailed examination in the matter. Read more
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