CCI looks at possible bid rigging in public procurement orders

Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India is looking at possible bid-rigging activities in certain public procurement contracts.

The Commission has the mandate to keep a tab on anti-competitive market practices.

An official in the know said the regulator is looking at the possibility of bid-rigging activities in some public procurement contracts in recent times and the assessments are at a preliminary stage.

Specific details were not disclosed. The official said in some issues, a final view is yet to be taken by the Commission.

However, it could not immediately ascertained whether any such case has been referred to the Commission's Director General, the regulator's investigating arm.

Generally, bid-rigging happens when the bidders collude and keep the bid amount at a pre-determined level. Such manipulations would defeat the purpose of discovering the fair price through bidding process.

Under the Section 3 of the Competition Act, bid rigging is one of the practices that could adversely impact competition in the concerned market.

In April this year, the Commission had slapped a total penalty of nearly Rs 318 crore on three entities -- United Phosphorus, Excel Crop Care, and Sandhya Organics -- for their alleged involvement in collusive bidding to supply ALP tablets to Food Corporation of India (FCI).

The three companies manufacture Aluminium phosphide (ALP) tablets -- that are used to preserve foodgrains.

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