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Competition panel slapped Rs 8,000 cr fines in 19 cases

Competition watchdog CCI has imposed a collective penalty of over Rs 8,000 crore in 19 cases for alleged anti-competitive practices till the end of financial year 2012-13, Parliament was informed on Monday.

As on 31 March  2013, Competition Commission of India (CCI) had received a total of 347 cases regarding violations of anti-competitive practises, corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

Of this, the Commission has closed 262 cases, in 28 cases 'cease and desist' orders have been passed, while in 19 cases, total penalties of Rs 8,013 crore have been imposed along with cease and desist orders, he added.

According to Competition Act, the CCI can issue 'cease and desist' order to refrain the company from pursuing any anti-competitive practices. In reply to another question, Pilot said that a total of Rs 55.67 crore undisbursed funds in the last fiscal have been credited to Consolidated Fund of India.

During the 2001-2012, Rs 637.17 crore had been credited to the Consolidated Fund of India. The government has established Investor Education and Protection Funds (IEPF) through which unclaimed funds on account of dividends, matured deposits, matured debentures and share application money are transferred to the government by the company on completion of seven years.


REGULATOR MAY ACT AGAINST  GUAR GUM CARTELISATION


Fair trade regulator CCI is considering the issue of possible cartelisation in trade of guar gum, one of the country's largest exported agri products that is primarily used by oil and gas exploration industry.

'The issue of cartelisation in the trade of guar gum is under consideration,'corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Monday.

There has been a rise in the the price of guar gum, extracted from guar seed, over the last few years. Commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC), in March last year, had banned futures trading in guar seed and guar gum to curb price volatility and speculation. It had also launched probe into the matter.

FMC had banned guar futures when spot prices were Rs 26,000 per quintal. After the ban, prices increased to Rs 32,000 and remained at elevated levels for 3 months. Meanwhile, the Minister said Competition Commission of India (CCI) took 'suo-moto cognisance' of the unusual rise in onion prices during December 2010 but did not find substantial evidence about cartel in onion market at that point of time.

Besides, CCI conducted a study through Bangalore-based Institute for Social and Economic Change to have a comprehensive view of the agriculture market including competitiveness in major onion markets of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The report, aimed at improving efficiency of agriculture market through competition, has been circulated by CCI to the agriculture ministry to seek their views on further action to ensure competition, Pilot said.
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