CCC’s: Guest Post on Competition Commission of India (CCI) Leniency Decision

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In a recent Cartel Capers post, I wrote about the first instance where the Competition Commission of India granted 100% immunity from a fine under the CCI’s leniency provisions (here).  Below is some additional important information on the case provided by the New Delhi, India Iaw firm of Luthra & Luthra.


Luthra & Luthra Guest Post:  CCI on leniency[1]

In its second decision based on a leniency application, the CCI held Eveready Industries, Indo National, and Panasonic Energy India Co. guilty of cartelizing in the market for dry cell batteries along with the Association, which was found to facilitate the cartel. Complete immunity from the fine was granted to Panasonic (and the six employees found to be involved), being the first leniency applicant,[2] and based on which the investigation was opened. The office of the Director General of Investigation carried out raids on the premises of all three companies. Following the raids, Eveready and Indo National also decided to file leniency applications, in that order, shortly after the raid. The Association, for some odd reason, decided to contest the charges.

Since all the manufacturers applied for leniency, the tussle was mainly for securing the maximum reduction in penalty possible based on the nature of their respective disclosures and the vitality of the evidence presented. With respect to Eveready and Indo Nat, the Commission observed that the evidence seized by the DG during the dawn raid was independently sufficient to establish the cartel and the additional evidence submitted by them post the raid did not result in ‘significant value addition.’  However, considering they had provided genuine, full, continuous and expeditious cooperation during the course of investigation, the CCI granted Eveready (and their office bearers) a reduction of 30 per cent and Indo National (and their office bearers) a reduction of 20 per cent in the total leviable penalty. The Association of course received no such reduction.

The big negative – the CCI discloses a disturbing amount of detail in its order, including the names of the certain customers; description of specific pieces of evidence such as emails, their senders and recipients, dates and contents; and the extent of overcharge.

Confidentiality is of extreme importance to leniency applicants who run the risk of follow-on civil damages claims and reputational loss. Without broad and robust confidentiality protection, potential leniency applicants may be deterred from coming forward to report cartel activity. Publishing details as the CCI has done could potentially attract numerous claims, which in-turn would act as a huge disincentive for future applicants seeking leniency. This is more so for global cartel participants, who may face claims not only in India but in other jurisdictions.

Third party access to leniency documents is another sensitive topic and it remains to be seen whether, and to what extent, the CCI will allow access to potential claimants.


[1] This post does not constitute legal advice.  Should you require any assistance or clarifications, please feel free to contact the Competition Law Team at [email protected] or any of the contacts listed alongside. CONTACTS: Gurdev Raj Bhatia, Partner – Head Competition Law; Abdullah Hussain Partner; Kanika Chaudhary Nayar, Partner.

[2]  Under Section 46 of the Act and the CCI’s Lesser Penalties Regulations, 2009.

CCC’s: Competition Commission of India Grants Full Leniency

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The Competition Commission of India issued a press release stating that it had granted leniency to three dry cell battery manufacturers in a cartel investigation. One of the subject companies, Panasonic, received full 100% leniency. I believe that this may be the first time that a company has received 100% credit for reporting and cooperating in a CCI investigation.  (I invite my friends in India to comment or elaborate.)  Below is an excerpt from the document, and the full press release can be found here.

CCI issues important order under Lesser Penalty Provisions in the cartel case by leading Indian Zinc-Carbon Dry Cell Battery Manufacturers

The Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) passed final order imposing penalty on three leading Indian zinc-carbon dry cell battery manufacturers – Eveready Industries India Ltd. (‘Eveready’), Indo National Ltd. (‘Nippo’), Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. (‘Panasonic’) and their association AIDCM (Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers) for colluding to fix prices of zinc-carbon dry cell battery in India. CCI invoked the provisions of Section 46 of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’) read with the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009 (‘Lesser Penalty Regulations’) to reduce the penalty imposed upon Panasonic, Eveready and Nippo by 100 percent, 30 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Thanks for reading.  Bob Connolly

Antitrust in Asia: HONG KONG: June 2-3, 2016

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I wanted to pass on some information about another great ABA Antitrust Section program“Antitrust In Asia.”  The program is in Hong Kong, China on June 2-3, 2016, but early registration savings end on May 12.  The faculty includes enforcers from China, Competition Commission of Hong Kong, Competition Commission of India, Japan Fair Trade Commission, Korea Fair Trade Commission, Competition Commission of Singapore, and the U.S. DOJ & FTC.

Antitrust enforcement in Asia has taken a prominent and increasingly important place in the global competition ecosystem. This conference features leading enforcers, academics, and practitioners who will address key developments across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as provide conference attendees unique opportunities to interact with top policy-makers.  Here is a link to the full agenda, which includes: Merger Review, Enforcement Directions in Asia, Abuse of Dominance, and Private Actions.  The conference also features a “Roundtable with Enforcers From China’s AML Agencies” (Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC)).  While the panels are always great, even better are the informal encounters with the enforcers, corporate counsel and other colleagues who attend the event.

Unfortunately, I won’t be attending.  I blew my modest international travel budget on the ABA Cartel Workshop in Tokyo, Japan in February.  Here is a short Cartel Caper blog post from that conference and a link to a conference follow-up article I wrote for Law 360 (here).  If you do attend the Antitrust in Asia conference and would like to post a blog entry about it, I’d be happy to publish it.  I am always looking to expand the international content of the blog.

Thanks for reading.