Competition Commission of India (CCI) has rejected allegations of unfair business ways against the Coal India and the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) pertaining to a global tender for technical service providers with respect to coal samples. The complaint was filed against the Coal India, its chairman and managing director and the CIMFR as well as its director. It was alleged that there were unfairconditions in the tender notice, floated by the CIMFR. The tender was for hiring technical service providers for collection, preparation and transportation of coal samples from loading and unloading points to the CIMFR or its research centres. The conditions, alleged to be anti-competitive for bidders, were depositing of Rs 1 crore earnest money and annual business turnover of Rs 20 crore for past three years. For this case, the CCI considered provision of services relating to collection, preparation and transportation of coal samples in India as the relevant market.
While noting that Coal India is dominant in the relevant market, the CCI, however, ruled out the charges of abuse of dominant position after finding that no entry barrier were created through the conditions in the tender.
"The plea of the informant challenging the pre- qualification conditions that the bidder must have minimum business turnover of Rs 20 crore per annum for past three years as it seeks to debar Indian firms, is misconceived as there are 26 third party samplers enlisted by CEA (Central Electricity Authority) in concurrence with Coal India Ltd," the regulator said.
As far as allegation of deposit of Rs 1 crore earnest money is concerned, the CCI said, "It is completely misconceived, as by no stretch of submission such requirement can be deemed to be abusive."