In this India Update 2015 Volume 4, Avinash Amarnath reports on a recent decision of the CCI and the thin evidence that still led to imposition of a maximum fine.
CCI fines All India Motor Transport Congress for calling for price hike
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed the maximum penalty of 10% of the average turnover on the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) the apex trade association for road transport service providers (both cargo and passenger) in India.
The CCI found that AIMTC had called for a hike of 15% in freight charges following an announcement of increase in diesel prices by state run oil marketing companies. AIMTC tried to argue that there was no evidence such as written circulars, directions or minutes of such a decision except for news reports which could not be considered as credible evidence without other corroborative evidence. Further, AIMTC argued that in any event, the members had, in fact not acted upon such a call.
The CCI, while observing that evidence was generally bound to be sparse in cartel investigations and an agreement could be inferred even in the absence of written circulars or directions found that: