Cartel penalized despite lack of direct evidence


Observing that the “existence of a written agreement is not necessary to establish common understanding, common design, common motive, common intent or commonality of approach among the parties to an anti-competitive agreement”, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently found 11 cement manufacturers and the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) guilty of forming a cartel under section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The CCI imposed a penalty of over ₹60 billion (US$1 billion) on the cement manufacturers, which is 50% of their profits for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The CMA was also penalized.

Cement_concreteThe CCI’s order followed investigations by the Director General (DG) triggered by a complaint filed by the Builders’ Association of India. The cement companies objected to the DG’s report, arguing that its findings were not supported by any direct evidence. However, the CCI noted that circumstantial evidence is of no less value than direct evidence to prove cartelization.

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The update of court judgments is compiled by Bhasin & Co, Advocates, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at or Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.