New Delhi: Competition Commission of India Chairman Ashok Chawla has advocated greater powers for the watchdog's investigation wing so that it can undertake search and seizure operations for effective implementation of anti-trust laws.
In an interview, Chawla said the Director General (Investigations) of the CCI should be given powers like its counterparts in the European Union and other jurisdictions.
"From our point of view, there is a need for strengthening the role and effectiveness of the Director General ... I believe his hands need to be strengthened in some form...
"In some jurisdictions, especially the European jurisdiction on which the Indian competition law is substantially placed, they have the powers of search and dawn raids, basically to be able to get more material," he said.
Dawn Raids, or unannounced search and seizure, is a common tool used by investigating arm of an anti-trust body for the purpose of gathering documentary evidence in a probe.
Although, under the Competition Act 2002, the DG has the powers to conduct search and seizures, this can only be done after obtaining warrant from the Magistrate. The CCI has suggested that DG should be allowed to carry out search and seizures by itself without the approval of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
When asked if the Commission also planned to give the Director General's office autonomy of operation, Chawla ruled it out.
"No, that is not envisaged nor required. He is part of the Commission. We don't tell him what to put in the report, but he must get enough tools to work," he said.
The office of DG (Investigations) of the CCI is important as the Commission's views and decisions partially depend on their findings and evidences.
The DG's office, at present, has more than 50 cases under investigation.
The CCI, which became fully functional in May 2009, draws its power from the Competition Act 2002 to check anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominant market positions.