By an order dated November 01, 2019, the Competition Commission of India ("CCI") has ordered a detailed investigation against Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. for alleged unfair commercial forms regarding the contracting of custom milling services for rice.

The CCI considered the market for acquiring personalized rice milling services in the state of Odisha as the relevant one. It also found that the entity is prima-facie dominant in the relevant market.

The investigation has been ordered by a complaint filed by Maa Metakani Rice Industries, based in Odisha, which refers to the milling and production of rice, among others. It acts as a custom milling agent for Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation.

The main complaints of market abuse pertain to the entity's conduct in the non-liquidation of the CMR quotas of the Maa Metakani Rice Industries and the imposition of unfair conditions by the millers to reach an agreement for custom grinding for the marketing season of Kharif 2018-19. CMR refers to custom ground rice.

DSK Legal's observation: It will be interesting to see as to how CCI deals with a statutory body during the inquiry proceedings. CCI has recently raised the threshold for referring a complaint to the DG for investigation (an observation based on their recent orders) and it can be reasonably assumed that the information contains more than compelling evidence to merit such reference.

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