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Delhi HC dismisses Monsanto plea against CCI probe of officers, directors

Sanjeeb Mukherjee/New Delhi 12 Oct 18 | 11:52 PM

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed writ petitions filed by Monsanto and its group companies seeking to restrain the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from investigating its officers, including directors, for violation of anti-trust laws.    

In 2015 and 2016, the CCI, in a majority order, had ordered the investigation against Monsanto, Monsanto Holdings Private Limited, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, and Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Limited for forcing anti-competitive agreements and abusing its dominant position in the country's Bt cotton seeds market.    

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It had found prima-facie evidence of the group companies misusing their dominant position and ordered a detailed probe. The application was made to the CCI by Ministry of Agriculture and three Indian companies -- Nuziveedu Seeds, Prabhat Agri Biotech, and Pravardhan Seeds.  

ALSO READ: Monsanto India names Cherukuri Ravishankar as Managing Director

In response, MMBL and others had approached the high court, seeking to restrain the CCI from conducting any investigation. In a separate writ petition, it also sought the court's permission to restrain the CCI from investigating its officers.  

This is the second bunch of petitions dismissed by the high court. The main petitions are still being heard.  

In response to the court order, a Monsanto India spokesman said, "We await orders from the court and will evaluate our next steps after we study it in detail."

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Monsanto said it had completely cooperated with the CCI and the director general's office in the ongoing investigation. "We have provided information requested by the CCI, including making individuals available for deposition to enable the investigation," the company said.   

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