The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a probe into the alleged abuse of dominance by Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd (MMBL), a joint venture between Mahyco and US-based Monsanto, as it found prima-facie violation of the Competition Act.
The order came after complaints by the agriculture ministry as well as three domestic seed companies, which had alleged MMBL was abusing dominance in the Bt cotton seeds market. The order was passed by six out of seven CCI members, including its chairman. The CCI has asked the director general (DG) of its investigation arm to complete the probe within 60 days.
The agriculture ministry had pointed at MMBL’s “abuse of dominant position by charging unreasonably high trait fees (royalty) for Bt cotton seeds”. MMBL also faced allegations that it was exploiting the government permissions to market Bt cotton technology by “creating a monopoly through restrictive agreements for unjust enrichment by charging high-trait value from its licensees and ultimately from farmers”. It was was also accused of entering into anti-competitive sub-licensing agreements with the Indian seed manufacturers. The second set of complaints was filed by seed companies — Nuziveedu Seeds, Prabhat Agri Biotech Pravardhan Seeds against MMBL as well as Monsanto and Mahyco.