Petrol prices being rigged? Fair trade panel to probe

New Delhi, Mar 16: Yesterday's reduction in petrol prices is good news but the alleged cartelisation in fixing prices should make you angry.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will "very soon" finalise the probe into alleged cartelisation among oil marketing companies in fixing petrol prices. The CCI is empowered to ensure fair trade in the market.

The CCI had written to the Petroleum Ministry on the issue, but the Ministry said it had no role in deciding the price of petrol as it was a deregulated commodity.

What is cartelisation? Cartelisation happens when enterprises collude to fix prices or indulge in rigging end user price. The state-run Oil marketing Companies have virtual monopoly on crude oil import and distribution of petro products. There are few private players with negligible presence and clout.

CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla today said the regulator was in the process of finalising the probe against oil marketing companies with regard to alleged cartelisation in fixing prices of petrol.

"We are in the process of finalising the probe very soon.We are in the process of sending them an order which will ensure that there is investigation to see what is happening in terms of petrol prices," Chawla said to reporters today on the sidelines of the seminar organised by Assocham on competition law.

On the issue of air fares, Chawla ruled out intervention by the CCI. Chawla said this was something that is determined by the market.  "As far as CCI is concerned, as on today, there is no reason perhaps to intervene. Our finding was that the upward or downtrends in passenger fares is due to demand and supply. We have not found any evidence of any combined action or cartelisation by airlines. Our assessment is the market is functioning as it should,'' he noted.

Earlier this week, CCI had ruled that government or the Director General of Civil Aviation cannot be asked to cap the flight ticket prices as that would go against the spirit of competition in the sector.

OneIndia News

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