Madras HC orders CBI probe into ‘artificial cement scarcity, price fixing’

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on April 28, 2021

The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered a CBI enquiry into allegations of artificial scarcity of cement created by manufacturers to increase the price for “wrongful gain”.

Hearing the petition filed by the Class I Contractors Welfare Association on Wednesday, Justice Bhavani Subbarayan directed CBI counsel Srinivasan to ‘take notice,’ conduct an enquiry and file a report on June 3.

The petitioner moved the court to direct the CBI to register an FIR against nine cement companies including ACC, India Cements, Ramco Cements, Ultra Tech Cement and Lafarge for creating an artificial scarcity and increasing the price for wrongful gains at the cost of public and contractors.

A bag of cement that cost ₹385 in July 2019 in Tamil Nadu now sells at ₹420-430. The increase was not on the basis of any increase of cost of the manufacturing materials, it claimed.

“Cement Manufacturers’ Association are continuing with their unlawful acts of price increase through the act of cartelisation for unlawful gain. The price of cement is rising faster than input prices and the supply of cement to the market is controlled through a tacit agreement. The manufacturers have indulged in collusive price fixing. They have entered into... agreements... to manipulate the supply and price of cement,” the petition said.

Cement manufacturers BusinessLine contacted said they will be able to react only after seeing the court order.

Published on April 28, 2021

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