CCI orders probe into possible cartelisation of onion traders | business | Hindustan Times
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CCI orders probe into possible cartelisation of onion traders

Competition watchdog Competition Commission of India today ordered a probe into the possible cartelisation by onion traders that might have led to the spike in the prices of the essential commodity.

business Updated: Jan 06, 2011 19:46 IST

Competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday ordered a probe into the possible cartelisation by onion traders that might have led to the spike in the prices of the essential commodity.

"The commission has held many deliberations to study the possibility of cartelisation by onion traders and prima facie there appears to be a case. So, we have taken a suo moto action in carrying out the probe," an official source told PTI.

The Director General (Investigations) of the CCI will submit the report on probe within 45 days.

Onion prices, which were already ruling at Rs 60 per kg, shot up to Rs 80 per kg last fortnight.

On Wednesday, chief economic adviser Kaushik Basu blamed cartelisation by traders for the spurt.

"The CCI has taken the suo moto action after making an economic analysis of demand and supply of the product, studying media reports and data from the mandis," said the source.

The investigations have been ordered under section 26 of the Competition Act 2002. The section empowers the Commission to order an inquiry by the Director General into a matter if it finds that a prime facie case exists for violation of the competition law.

On Thursday, retail prices of onion rose by Rs 5-10 per kg to Rs 55-60 in Mumbai and Chennai, but remained unchanged at Rs 50-60/kg in Delhi and Kolkata due to sluggish supplies.

Meanwhile, wholesale price of onion in Delhi and Mumbai remained unchanged from Wednesday's level at Rs 45/kg, while rates in Chennai fell by Rs 5/kg to Rs 55. But in Kolkata, prices rose marginally to Rs 55/kg today, up by Rs 3 from yesterday, according to the reports from these centres.

The government had banned exports and removed import duty on onions to boost domestic supply and curb rising prices. Private traders have already imported over 5,000 tonnes of onions through Amritsar.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Thursday stopped 300 trucks of onion bound for India at the Wagah land border, saying exports had to be curbed to control rising prices within the country.