National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has reserved its order on appeals filed by LPG cylinder manufacturers against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order holding them guilty of cartelisation and bid rigging in the tenders floated by public sector oil marketing company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).
Pursuant to an anonymous complaint, CCI had directed its investigation arm (Director General/DG) to examine the allegations that LPG cylinder manufacturers had entered into an anti-competitive agreement.
The DG investigated the tenders floated by HPCL for procurement of 14.2 kg LPG cylinders and noted that the manufacturers had placed identical bids and hence indulged in bid rigging.
The DG also found them to have colluded in rigging the tendering process by withdrawing their bids simultaneously and in a coordinated manner.
CCI passed a final order on August 9,2019 finding them guilty of bid rigging in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 and imposed one per cent of turnover as penalty.
Cylinder manufactures challenged the CCI order before the NCLAT, which heard the appeals in August and September 2022.
On Friday, the arguments were concluded and NCLAT has reserved the matter for orders.