The Telegraph
Thursday , February 27 , 2014
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Tribunal offers CIL breather

Calcutta, Feb. 26: The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) has stayed the Rs 1,773-crore penalty slapped on Coal India by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for unfair trade practices.

The state-run miner, however, will have to deposit a marginal amount of Rs 50 crore within three weeks. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 13.

Based on a complaint from state power generation companies, the CCI in its order dated December 9 had said that Coal India was operating independently of the market forces and it enjoyed an undisputed monopoly over production and supply of thermal coal.

The fair trade regulator had also said that Coal India had abused its dominance and did not try to evolve/draft/finalise terms and conditions of the fuel supply agreements through a bilateral process with the buyers.

Accordingly, the CCI had imposed a penalty of Rs 1,773.05 crore, which is equal to 3 per cent of the PSU’s average turnover.

The regulator had given a 30-day deadline to Coal India to comply with the order. Subsequently, Coal India had approached Compat, which hears appeals against any directions or orders issued by the CCI. Compat had ordered a status quo on the matter in its January 13 order, while fixing a hearing in February.

Meanwhile, the board of Coal India is likely to meet on Friday to deliberate on a concession agreement for developing mines based on a public-private-partnership (PPP) model. The government had identified an explored greenfield mine in the Mahanadi Coalfields to be taken up as a pilot project under the PPP model.

During the day, the CIL scrip fell 1.12 per cent to Rs 243.60 on the BSE.