Fair trade panel may probe petrol pricing

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) may soon ask its investigation wing to carry out a detailed probe into the alleged cartel-like behaviour of oil marketing companies in increasing and decreasing the prices of petrol in unison, according to a report.

"Prima facie evidence suggest that the case pertaining to cartel-like behaviour of OMCs does deserve a more detailed examination by the office of the director general (investigations), and we will soon take a view on it," PTI reported quoting a CCI source.

After carrying out an initial enquiry on the matter, the CCI found that ''there was no valid reason why OMCs Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum were increasing and decreasing the price of petrol in unison, as the product is was already decontrolled''.

The commission is expected to make a final decision in this regard in the first fortnight of October.

The official told PTI, "Such behaviour of the OMCs is limiting competition in the market and not giving consumers the opportunity to choose the best price."

The state-owned OMCs earlier used to revise petrol prices on the first and 16th of every month on the basis of average international oil prices and the foreign exchange rate in the previous fortnight. However, since late July they have ended this practice and now revise the rates on a random date to deter petrol pump dealers from building positions.