SC to hear UltraTech Cement’s plea June 10

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to hear June 10 a plea by UltraTech Cement Limited challenging the order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal that asked the firm to deposit 10 percent of penalty imposed on it on a cartelization complaint.

The penalty was slapped by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) allegedly for engaging in cartelization with other cement manufacturers to manipulate cement prices.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur said that it would hear the matter Monday after senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that the tribunal instead of staying the CCI order directed UltraTech Cement to deposit 10 percent of the penalty imposed on it.

UltraTech Cement challenged the May 17 interim order of the tribunal asking it to deposit Rs.117.45 crore – 10 percent of Rs.1,175.49 crore penalty imposed on it by the commission.

The CCI by its June 20, 2012, order imposed a penalty of Rs.6,200 crore on 11 cement manufacturing companies for forming a cartel to manipulate the market price.

Besides UltraTech Cements, the penalty was slapped on Associated Cement Company, Ambuja Cement Limited, Jaypee Cement, India Cements Limited, J.K. Cements Ltd., Century Cement, Century Textile & Inds. Ltd., Madras Cement Limited, Binani Cement Limited and Lafarge India Private Limited.

Besides the cement companies, Cement Manufacturers’ Association was also fined.

The petition said that the tribunal ruled that failure to deposit 10 percent of the total penalty would result in the dismissal of appeal challenging the CCI order.

UltraTech Cement, in its petition, quoted the tribunal headed by Justice V.S. Sirpurkar as saying: “We find there is a prima facie case for granting stay at least in respect of the penalties which are very of substantial nature.”

It said the tribunal failed to consider its plea that the competition watchdog CCI’s order imposing hefty penalty was contrary to the material facts.

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