Slapped with a fresh 'cease and desist' order by fair trade regulator CCI, realty major DLF has said it is "very surprising" that no penalty has been imposed on various other realtors operating in the same market with the same product line.
In a fresh order yesterday against DLF, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ruled that the realty giant was guilty of indulging in "unfair and abusive" business practices in sale of apartments in a Gurgaon housing project.
CCI asked DLF Gurgaon Home Developers Private Limited and its group companies to "cease and desist" from such unfair trade practices, but did not impose any fresh monetary penalty as Rs 630 crore fine has already been slapped on DLF for similar violation during the same period in a separate case.
This is the latest in a series of orders passed by CCI against DLF, although it has also let off the company in some cases saying it did not find any violation of the competition laws.
Reacting to the CCI order, DLF said in a statement -- a copy of which was also filed with the stock exchanges this morning -- that it has received the CCI order and would take the necessary steps as advised by the legal counsels. While stating that it was still studying the order, DLF said: "It is, however, very surprising that in Gurgaon there are tens of companies which offer flats in the same range of Rs 45-50 lakh.
"It is also well-known that that tens of thousands of flats are offered in the area of Gurgaon within the same price range, with same amenities and in the same product line. We have also noticed that no penalty has been imposed. We are studying the order in details and go as advised by legal counsels."
In its order, CCI had said, "... the Commission directs the Opposite Party and its group companies operating in the relevant market to cease and desist from indulging in the conduct which is found to be unfair and abusive."
The order followed complaints filed with CCI against DLF Gurgaon Home Developers, wherein it was alleged that the company had lured home buyers to book apartments at "very attractive" rates in DLF New Town Heights project under a pre-launch scheme.
Later, when the buyers sought cancellation of allotment and requested for refund of the amounts paid by them on grounds of delay in the project, the developer refused to do, saying that applications signed by buyers were irrevocable and the request for cancellation cannot be acceded to.
The buyers were also told that the only option available with them was to sell the property in open market, as per the CCI order.
Subsequently, the complainants approached CCI alleging abuse of dominant position by the company and the fair trade regulator ordered a probe by its investigative arm.