CCI penalises firms found guilty of bid rigging and cartelization in Indian Railways tenders (Press release dated 09th June 2022)

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) issued a final order today against seven (07) companies/ firms which were found to have contravened the provisions of Sections 3(3)(a), 3(3)(b), 3(3)(c) and 3(3)(d) read with Section 3(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act), which proscribe anti-competitive agreements.

The case was initiated on the basis of a lesser penalty application filed by one of the cartelising entities. Under Section 46 of the Act, a cartel member may approach the Commission by way of filing an application seeking lesser penalty, in return for providing full, true and vital disclosures in respect of the alleged cartel to the Commission.

CCI found these seven (07) companies/ firms to have indulged in cartelisation in the supply of Protective Tubes to the Indian Railways by means of directly or indirectly determining prices, allocating tenders, controlling supply and market, co-ordinating bid prices and manipulating the bidding process. The evidence in the matter included regular e-mail communications between the parties and filing of bids from same IP addresses by certain parties etc.

Further, ten (10) individuals of these seven (07) entities were also held by the CCI to be liable for the anti-competitive conduct of their respective companies/ firms, in terms of the provisions of Section 48 of the Act.

CCI imposed penalties @5% of the average turnover/ income upon the companies/ firms and their certain individuals found guilty of violating the provisions of the Act. However, benefit of reduction in penalty under the provisions of Section 46 of the Act of 100% was given to the lesser penalty applicant. Post reduction, CCI directed the parties to pay penalties totaling to approx. INR 30 lacs, besides issuing a cease-and-desist order.

The order was passed in Suo Motu Case No. 06 of 2020 and a copy of the order is available at CCI website at http://www.cci.gov.in.

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