The Competition Appellate Tribunal is understood to have dismissed an appeal filed by various explosives manufacturers against a Competition Commission order which found them guilty of forming a cartel.

In April last year, CCI had found ten explosives manufacturers guilty of a collective boycott of the electronic reverse auction conducted by Coal India Limited (CIL) for procurement of explosives.

Following investigation, the CCI had imposed a penalty of Rs 60 crore on 10 explosives manufacturers. Coal India had filed its complaint under provisions dealing with anti-competition agreement and abuse of dominant market position of the Competition Act.

It had alleged that, apart from the companies, the Explosives Manufacturers Welfare Association and Explosives Manufacturers Association of India, formed a cartel and quoted similar bid prices.

The explosives manufacturers included Gulf Oil Corporation, Ideal Industrial Explosives, Solar Industries India, Blastec India, Indian Explosives, Emul Tek, Regenesis Industries & Techno Blasts India, Black Diamond Explosives, and Keltech Energies.

Pallavi Shroff, Partner at Amarchand Mangaldas, who represented Coal India Ltd in the case said: “The Tribunal’s and the CCI’s unanimous decisions vindicate Coal India’s position and their objective of ensuring fair competition in the market for procurement of explosives, which are a crucial raw material for producing coal”.

CIL had alleged that various explosives makers were collectively determining prices, threatening to stop supplies and boycotting the reverse auctions organised by it to finalise its suppliers for explosives. The company said as result of the cartelisation it was unable to get a fair deal for such products as bulk explosives, cartridge explosives, fuses and detonators.