A majority of the 44 cement companies recently accused of cartelisation by the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) are in the process of filing an appeal against the commission’s order at a higher court.
"We have sought legal opinion from experts and are in the process of filing an appeal at the Supreme Court against the MRTPC order. MRTPC’s findings are baseless and we need to establish that," said an executive of a leading cement company that has been found guilty by MRTPC.
MRTPC found 44 cement companies, including giants like Birla Cement, Grasim, ACC, Jaiprakash Associates and JK Lakshmi, guilty of cartelisation under the aegis of the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) between February and April 1990.
The commission had begun inquiries in October, 1990, after its investigative wing, the Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR), had alleged that the cement companies were involved in cartelisation. The commission also agreed with the report of DGIR that stated the prices were determined by CMA in different states on the basis of prevailing market conditions through the local management of manufacturers. In its order on December 20, MRTPC has warned the cement producers and CMA not to repeat such a practice.
The companies have also been directed by the commission to file an affidavit of compliance within eight weeks.
"We have taken a decision against filing the affidavit of compliance since we never indulged in a cartelisation," said an official from one of the companies.