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Global Economy

High Court dismisses Mahyco Monsanto plea against CCI probe order


New Dehi:The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed biotechnology firm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech’s plea challenging the fair trade regulator’s order to investigate its directors for alleged abuse of the company’s dominant position in India in Bt cotton business.

Competition Commission of India (CCI) can now proceed to investigate office bearers of Monsanto, officials of the regulator said, referring to the probe that was ordered in 2016.

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) is an equal joint venture between Mahyco and Monsanto Holdings Pvt Ltd.

A spokesperson for Monsanto India said the company will decide on its next step after studying the court’s order, which was issued by Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

CCI had said the conduct of MMB prima facie appears to be in violation of the Competition Act and abuse of dominant position by charging unreasonably high fees for Bt cotton seeds. During the course of the investigation, the director general of CCI had sought certain information with respect to office bearers of Monsanto and MMB.

“The learned single-judge (bench) dismissed the petition of Monsanto in view of the division bench judgement in the Cadila Healthcare Limited case, which clearly laid down (that) investigation can be made into an alleged defaulting company as well as its directors,” said Sunil Mathews, the advocate representing the agriculture ministry.

The Monsanto spokesperson said, “Monsanto has 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 investigations by the CCI have been initiated on the backdrop of an ongoing commercial dispute between MMB and its sub-licensee seed companies, wherein a few of the disputing sub-licensee seed companies along with other vested interests have selfishly colluded to maximise their profits.”

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