SC refuses to stay CAT penalty order on Gulf Oil Corp

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: May 11 2013, 07:19am hrs
In a setback to the country's largest explosives and detonators manufacturer, Gulf Oil Corporation (GOC), the Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) order that upheld the penalty imposed on it, and eight others, following a complaint of cartelisation against them by Coal India.

While the tribunal had upheld the fine of around R60 crore imposed by regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) on nine explosives manufacturers for forming a cartel to bid for supply of explosives to state-owned Coal India, it had reduced it to 10%, saying there is a clear-cut finding given by the CCI and we find no error in that finding.

A bench headed by Justice Anil R Dave, while issuing notice to CCI, refused to accept GOC senior counsel Ramji Srinivasans argument that the firm should be given liberty to secure the amount by way of bank guarantee before the registrar of this court instead of depositing the money.

The CCI has asked these manufacturers to shell out the average of 3% of their annual turnover for three years as penalty, which amounts to R60 crore. The CCI had on April 14 imposed a fine of R28.94 crore on GOC, R11.34 on Solar Industries and R11.34 on Indian Explosives.

The companies slapped with the fine are: GOC, Ideal Industrial Explosives, Solar Industries India, Blastec India, Indian Explosives, Emul Tek, Regenesis Industries, Techno Blasts India, Black Diamond Explosives, and Keltech Energies.

The regulator has directed its probe unit, Director General of Investigations, after receiving a complaint from Coal India alleging that the producers had formed a cartel while quoting bids.