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Competition Appellate Tribunal Stays Rs 630 Cr Penalty On DLF

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In temporary relief to DLF, the Competition Appellate Tribunal on Wednesday stayed fair trade watchdog CCI's order imposing Rs 630 crore penalty on the realty major for abuse of dominant market position.

Hearing a petition by DLF against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order, a three-member bench of the tribunal, headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, stayed the operation of the CCI order imposing the fine.

The tribunal has issued notices to CCI and flat buyers association, on whose complaints the fair trade watchdog had imposed the penalty and passed a 'cease and desist order'.

The next date of hearing has been fixed in the second week of February, 2012.

In its interim-order, COMPAT clarified if DLF loses the case, the company would have to deposit the entire penalty along with 9 per cent interest and asked DLF to give an undertaking within a period of three months regarding this.

The tribunal directed DLF and the flat owners to submit a draft of the revised terms of their agreement, as directed by the CCI in its order, within eight weeks.

Reacting to the COMPAT's stay order, DLF Group Executive Director Rajeev Talwar said: "We have said that we have a strong case. This is a temporary relief and let's hope for the best for the final order by the tribunal. We cannot comment further as the matter is subjudice".

DLF shares on Wednesday fell by about 4 per cent on BSE.

On August 12, the CCI imposed a hefty penalty of Rs 630 crore on DLF for alleged abuse of its dominant position and passed a 'cease and desist' order over unfair conditions imposed on the buyers of its flats.

In late August, the CCI had passed another order in a separate case wherein it asked DLF to 'cease and desist' from misuse of dominant position but did not impose any penalty.

These orders followed inquiries into complaints filed by the flat buyer associations of two separate DLF projects in Gurgaon, in the National Capital Region alleging delay in the project and less penalty to buyers for delay in completion of the project and increase in the number of floors among others.

DLF had approached Compat last month seeking relief from the orders of the fair trade watchdog, following which the matter was posted for hearing on November 9.

The company had challenged the CCI directive on various grounds, including the jurisdiction of the case, the basis for determining relevant market and dominant position and the company not being served with show-cause notices before the order was passed.


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