COMPAT vide its order dated December 7, 2015 set-aside the penalty of INR 47, 63,579/- imposed by CCI on Shri Swapan Kumar Karak (Director, Karak Pharmaceuticals) holding him accountable, as a member of the Executive Committee of Bengal Chemist and Druggist Association (BCDA), for the decision by BCDA to restrict discounts on medicines by the pharmaceutical retailers.

The COMPAT considered that Mr. Karak had categorically stated in its reply before the Director General (DG) that he had resigned from his positions within the Executive Committee of BCDA and that he had no knowledge about the decision taken by the Executive Committee for restraining the sale of drugs and medicines below MRP.

However, post the assertion made by Mr. Karak, the DG did not even try to find out the truth behind the claim of Mr. Karak. The DG did not make any effort in that direction. Not only this, DG solely relied upon the minutes of various meetings of the Executive Committee, in which the Mr. Karak’s presence was shown without calling for the original record including the registers in which those participating in the meetings must have signed. CCI approved the DG’s findings.

The COMPAT was of the view that there is no escape from the conclusion that the DG and the CCI committed serious error by holding the appellant liable for anti-competitive conduct/activity committed by the BCDA.

(Source: Order dated December 7, 2015. For full text see CCI website-www.cci gov.in)