The Indian Government is likely to rope in Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate any anti-competition moves by Adan, Jindal or GMR in the recently concluded second round of the coal block auctions.
Business Standard reported, "The move comes in the midst of a court battle between the Naveen Jindal-promotedJindal Power and the government. Jindal Power had recently moved court against the government's decision to deny it the block. A wholly owned subsidiary of JSPL, Jindal Power, had emerged the lowest bidder for this block, which the company was operating till it was deallocated after a Supreme Court order in August last year."
The paper further reported that coal ministry is exploring options of approaching an investigative agency to probe if the process of bid submission by these three companies had any malice.
The bid log shows that Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd and GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd had pulled out of the bidding process after putting only one negative bid each. "The bids received for Gare Palma-IV/2&3 coal mines could be anti-competition. Though the government said in its report that there was no evidence of collusive bidding, the procedure for bidding indicates anomaly in timing and bid amounts of participating companies," said one of the people in the know.
"A senior competition lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said a case of anti-competitive behaviour under Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002, could be invoked. This section covers cartelisation and deals with anti-competitive agreements," the paper said.
Gare Palma-IV/2&3 bid logs show that Adani Power pulled out of the process after putting its opening bid and GMR backed out after a Rs zero bid for the mine. Jindal Power put in a minus Rs 102 per tonne bid for the mine.
Business Standard further quoted a senior coal ministry stating, "It is difficult to understand why other qualified bidders did not bid for this mine. This is a mine with the highest extractable reserves but other comparatively small mines received much higher bids."
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