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Oil firms under scanner

business Updated: Jul 06, 2008 22:50 IST

Leading oil and gas companies have come under the scanner of fair trade regulator MRTPC for their alleged favouritism to specific stove manufacturers while giving new domestic LPG gas connections.

The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has directed its investigative unit to look into allegations that customers are being forced to purchase particular brand of gas stoves while giving new connections.

According to sources, the Commission is suspecting a sales tie-up between stove manufacturers and the oil and gas companies.

The LPG gas market is dominated by government-controlled companies Hindustan Petroleum, IOCL and Bharat Petroleum and through their respective brands HP gas, Indane and Bharat gas.

The Commission is also believed to have observed recent reports in which some oil and gas companies have directed their dealers to promote particular brand of gas stoves.

The Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) is likely to issue enquiry notices to all oil and gas companies seeking information about their policies and practices.

DGIR has been given 90 days to complete its probe and submit a report. If it finds the oil companies on the wrong foot it would start judicial proceedings by issuing 'notice of enquiry' against them.

The Commission action came following complains from consumers along with information that one of the premier oil companies was resorting to such practices.