The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found an agreement between three suppliers to rig the bids in respect of a tender floated by Pune Zilla Parishad for procurement of Picofall-cum-Sewing Machine.

The competition watchdog has concluded that the quoting of bid prices, which were very close to each other with difference of just a few rupees by the bidders for the impugned tender, was not a mere coincidence but a result of consensus/ understanding among the bidders.

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The CCI also noted that a holistic assessment of bid prices , coupled with other factors – single IP address, coordination in other tenders, call data record, mobile location – showsan agreement among the bidders to fix price, resulting in rigging the bids in the tender of Pune Zilla Parishad, an official release said.

The CCI also opined that such conduct in public procurements, besides defeating the tendering process, has an adverse impact on the exchequer. Accordingly, the CCI imposed a monetary penalty of ₹10 lakh each on the suppliers – Klassy Computers, Nayan Agencies and Jawahar Brothers – for the anti-competitive conduct. Further, a penalty of ₹10,000 each was imposed on each of the individuals of Jawahar Brothers, in terms of Section 48 of the Competition Act.

The other two bidders are sole proprietorship concerns and, thus, no separate penalty is being imposed upon their respective proprietors. Besides, a cease-and-desist order was also issued against these suppliers, the release added.