In a major verdict, the Competition Appellate Tribunal set aside on Friday Rs 6,316.59 crore penalty imposed on 11 cement firms by CCI on cartelisation charges and asked the fair trade regulator to hear the matter afresh.
The Tribunal also allowed the cement manufacturers to withdraw the 10 per cent penalty amount already deposited with the CCI (Competition Commission of India), which has been asked to pass a fresh order within three months.
The judgement follows appeals filed by the cement firms and their industry body Cement Manufacturers Association against the two CCI orders passed in June-July 2012, wherein the regulator has imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs 6,316.59 crore on cartelisation charges.
The companies included ACC, Ambuja Cements, Binani Cements, Century Textiles Ltd, India Cements, JK Cements, Lafarge India, Madras Cements, Ultratech, JP Associates and Shree Cements.
The CCI had passed the orders after an investigation into complaints, including from Builders Association of India (BAI) against alleged price cartelisation among cement firms.
The orders were later challenged at Compat, which today ordered that "the impugned order is set aside and the matter is remitted to the Commission (CCI) for fresh adjudication of the issues relating to alleged violation" of the relevant sections of the Competition Act."
"The appellant shall be entitled to withdraw the amount deposited by them in compliance of the interim order passed by the Tribunal," Compat ruled.
The companies had earlier deposited 10 per cent of their respective penalty amounts.