There were complaints that the three firms — Chandra Prabhu Offset Printing Works Pvt Ltd, Saraswati Offset Printers Pvt Ltd and United India Tradex Pvt Ltd — had conspired to fix rates in bids submitted for the tenders.
) had directed its probe arm — Director General (DG) — for a detailed investigation, which revealed close linkages among the three firms (opposite parties).
“The evidence gathered by investigation showed that there are business dealings, funds transactions, loan exchanges, sharing of work orders and personal acquaintances among the opposite parties. However, the investigation could not unearth any cogent evidence that could establish contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3) of the (Competition) Act,” the regulator said citing the investigation report.
Section 3 pertains to anti-competitive agreements.
According to CCI’s 12-page order passed on Friday, the Commission notes that the inter-se dealings between the opposite parties are explained to be on account of their historic business linkages and such dealings thus appear to be in usual course of business.
“… there is nothing on record as per investigation to suggest that the opposite parties joined hands to manipulate the process of bidding in respect of the aforementioned three tenders,” the watchdog said, adding that no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3) is made out in the facts and circumstances of the case.