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Tip-off about cartel came with hint about it breaking competition law, says Nagrik Chetna Manch president

fter careful scrutiny of the tender process for the garbage processing plants in question, Nagrik Chetna Manch president, Maj Gen SCN Jatar (retd), filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The commission, which has judicial powers, conducted a detailed inquiry.

pune Updated: Oct 12, 2017 16:54 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Cartel,bid,rigging
Nagrik Chetna Manch president, Maj Gen SCN Jatar (retd).(HT PHOTO)

Pune Although it is known to be widely prevalent in some government institutes, rigging the tender process in the Pune Municipal Corporation is on record for the firs time. After careful scrutiny of the tender process for the garbage processing plants in question, Nagrik Chetna Manch president, Maj Gen SCN Jatar (retd), filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The commission, which has judicial powers, conducted a detailed inquiry. The final hearing is on November 16, where all parties have been given a chance to put forth their objections to the CCI’s investigation report. Against this background, Hindustan Times spoke with Jatar.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has exposed the cartel and rigging in the tender process conducted by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The commission has passed strictures on the municipal commissioner for the ‘systemic failure’ of the process. What is the next step?

The commission is formed by an Act of Parliament and has judicial power. They have taken all the statements of officers and participants in the tenders on oath. The report is very clear and it is accepted that there is a cartel in the municipal tender process which was executed for thermal garbage processing plants. As per the provision, the commission can impose a 10 per cent fine of the total turnover of the concerned company, or three per cent of the total income of the company.For municipal officers, the commission can instruct the concerned authorities to do the inquiry and take action as per law.

How did you expose this cartel and why approach the Competition Commission of India?

I got a tip off about this cartel. When I checked the documents I found the directors of the participant companies are the same and have registered companies in different names. Even while doing some basic studies I found many interesting things. The person who tipped me off about the cartel also gave me a hint about it breaking the competition law. While checking out the competition law I came to know about this commission. First I filed the complaint with them, but it got rejected as it was not in prescribed form. Then I followed all the norms and resubmitted it. The commission inspected it and took the statements of all the concerned parties. The commission then prepared the report and exposed the PMC.

What is the Competition Commission of India ?

The Competition Act, 2002 was passed by parliament in 2002, to which the President accorded assent in January, 2003. It was subsequently amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007.In accordance with the provisions of the Amendment Act, the Competition Commission of India and the Competition Appellate Tribunal have been established. The Competition Commission of India is now fully functional with a chairperson and six members. The objectives of the act are sought to be achieved through the CCI, which has been established by the central government with effect from October 14, 2003. It is the duty of the CCI to eliminate practices having an adverse effect on competition; to promote and sustain competition; and to protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.

First Published: Oct 12, 2017 16:41 IST