Competition panel to probe ACC, Ambuja, UltraTech

Competition panel to probe ACC, Ambuja, UltraTech
Published: 16 September 2011

India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs has asked the Competition Commission of India to further probe charges of cartelisation against cement majors ACC, Gujarat Ambuja and UltraTech Cements.

The Director-General of Investigation and Registration (DGI&R) has been asked to look into the matter, an MCA official told Business Line.

The Ministry had ordered its investigations arm, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), to probe charges of price manipulation by the three companies between 2008 and 2010 under Section 234 (6) of the Companies Act, 1956.

SFIO, in its report submitted to the Ministry, held the three manufacturers guilty of price manipulation and recommended action against them.

However, SFIO does not have jurisdiction to prove cartelisation charges, the official said. It probed the three companies under the Companies Act, and now it is the job of CCI to use that information and further investigate the matter under the Competition Act.

“The CCI is the appropriate body to probe charges of cartelisation. We have to wait and see if the investigations by DGI&R may lead to cartelisation,” said the official.

Earlier this week, stocks of the cement majors had climbed up when some reports in the media said that Mr Veerappa Moily, Minister for Corporate Affairs, had given a clean bill to the three cement companies. “There are no signs of cartelisation by leading firms in the cement sector,” Mr Moily was reported to have said.