Bundles of Indian 100 rupee banknotes are seen at a HDFC Bank Ltd. bank branch in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg) 

CCI Slaps Rs. 3.5 Crore Fine On Six Firms, Individuals For Cartelisation

Competition Commission has imposed a total penalty of more than Rs 3.5 crore on six firms and some of their executives for cartelisation with respect to tenders floated by Pune Municipal Corporation.

Invoking the leniency provisions, the fair trade watchdog also significantly reduced the penalties on four firms and their executives.

Fortified Security Solutions, Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt Ltd, Lahs Green India Pvt Ltd, Sanjay Agencies, Mahalaxmi Steels and Raghunath Industry Pvt Ltd are the six firms that have been penalised, according to an official release.

These entities and their executives have been fined a total of little over Rs 3.57 crore for "bid rigging/ collusion in five tenders" floated by Pune Municipal Corporation during December 2014 to March 2015 period, it added.

The tenders pertained to municipal organic and inorganic solid waste processing plants.

Under lesser penalty regulations of the Competition Act, penalties have been reduced in the case of four firms -- Mahalakshmi, Lahs Green, Sanjay Agencies and Ecoman.

As per the release, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) also found "meeting of mind and co-ordination between various individuals which included the proprietor/ partner/ director of the firms to rig the tenders by way of submitting proxy/ cover bids".

During investigation, all the six firms had approached the Competition Commission of India seeking lesser penalties.

Citing evidence gathered by the Director General and co-operation as well as value addition provided in establishing the existence of cartel, the regulator granted Mahalaksmi and Lahs Green as well as their executives 50 per cent reduction in penalties on them, the release said.

"Sanjay Agencies and Ecoman, along with their individuals, were granted 40 and 25 percent reduction in penalty, respectively. Pursuant to reduction, penalty imposed on Mahalakshmi was Rs 1.68 crore, on Lahs Green was Rs 21 lakh, on Sanjay Agencies was Rs 90.64 lakh and on Ecoman was Rs 33.90 lakh," it added.

As per the release, no penalty was imposed on individuals of Fortified and Mahalakshmi as these are proprietorship firms.