The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered the company to modify the "terms and conditions of Spot e-Auction Scheme 2007".
There is a provision in the scheme whereby a buyer is liable for penalty for non-lifting of coal after successful participation in the e-auction while there is no corresponding liability upon the miner and its subsidiaries for failure to deliver the dry fuel in respect of accepted bids. This has been found to be in violation of competition norms.

"Such arrangement in the scheme was noted to be a result of market power exercised by CIL and its subsidiaries," the Commission said in a statement.

While asking it to also "cease and desist" from unfair business practices, the Commission in its 32-page order observed that Coal India through its subsidiaries operates independently of market forces and enjoys undisputed dominance in the relevant market of sale of non-coking coal to the bidders under the Spot e-Auction scheme in the country.

The ruling follows a complaint made by one Bijay Poddar against Coal India and its subsidiaries.

Incidentally, the government has last week unveiled an Ordinance to facilitate e-auction of coal blocks for private companies for captive use and allot mines directly to state and central PSUs.

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