Competition panel may send notices to oil PSUs on petrol pricing
New Delhi: The public sector oil marketing companies may have to answer questions on possible cartelisation when fixing petrol prices, with the Competition Commission of India considering sending notices to the retailers on the same shortly.
The Commission, during its initial probe, had found that there was a case to investigate if the companies were indulging in a cartel-like behaviour. The Commission is studying the case suo moto. The matter is being considered under section 3 of the Competition Act, which pertains to anti-competitive agreements. Earlier, CCI had written to the Petroleum Ministry on the issue. However, the Ministry had said that it did not have a role in fixing petrol prices as it was a deregulated product.
The three public sector oil retailers - Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation - have a virtual monopoly on the retailing of petroleum products as they sell diesel, domestic LPG, and kerosene at a Government-controlled price.
Sources said that CCI has studied similar situation in markets such the US and decided to investigate the retailers as their behaviour was limiting competition. The retailers have been simultaneously raising and lowering prices of petrol to prevent any confusion in the market.