CCI slaps Rs 12 crore fine on coal transportation companies
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a nearly Rs 12 crore penalty on 10 entities for rigging bids in a coal transportation tender floated by Western Coalfields, a subsidiary of Coal India.
The competition watchdog also slapped a fine on eight officials of the companies and concluded that the defaulting entities were in agreement to fix prices resulting in bid-rigging in the tenders floated, according to an official statement on Thursday. It said such conduct in public procurement, besides defeating the tendering process, has an adverse impact on the process of competition. Bid-rigging is one of the pernicious forms of anti-competitive conduct prohibited under the Competition Act, the CCI said.
The 10 entities had submitted identical price quotes in four tenders floated for coal and sand transportation, the commission said. They were SSV Coal Carriers, Bimal Kumar Khandelwal, Pravin Transport, Khandelwal Transport, Khandelwal Earth Movers, Khanduja Coal Transport, Punya Coal Road Lines, B Himmatlal Agrawal, Punjab Transport Co and Avaneesh Logistics.
The penalty has been calculated at 4% of their average turnover during the past three financial years. They have also been directed to cease and desist from indulging in anti-competitive conduct.