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DLF files fresh undertaking in SC, to pay fine in tranches

Real estate major DLF on Wednesday filed a fresh undertaking in the Supreme Court, asking it be allowed to deposit balance Rs 480 crore of a total Rs 630-crore fine imposed on it by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in six monthly instalments, starting January 15. A bench headed by judge S J Mukhopadhaya allowed the contention of the firm and said it would commence final hearing on DLF’s plea against CCI’s order from February 11.

The bench also directed the realty major to amend its flat buyers’ agreements. “We will first hear the question of jurisdiction. Whether the Commission had the jurisdiction or a consumer forum,” the bench, also comprising judge N V Ramana, said.

CCI had slapped a fine of Rs 630-crore on DLF for unfair business practices. DLF had earlier deposited Rs 150 crore of the Rs 630-crore fine with the apex court registry. The court had in its August 27 last year order said the registry would be at liberty to invest it in any nationalised bank.

DLF had moved the apex court expressing difficulty in meeting the November 26 deadline to deposit the entire Rs 630 crore as a pre-condition to entertain its appeal. It had sought six months’ time to comply with the direction but the bench had asked it to deposit Rs 50 crore within three weeks and the rest Rs 580 crore in the next three months.

DLF sought more time for depositing the rest of the amount, claiming it was in serious financial difficulty, aggravated by Securities and Exchange Board of India’s decision to ban the company and six of its senior officials from accessing the capital markets for three years, for alleged non-disclosure in its 2007 Initial public offering filing.

SC had admitted DLF’s appeal in which Haryana government, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) are parties along with the residents’ association on whose plea CCI had imposed the penalty on the company.

CCI had in 2011 found DLF violating fair trade norms and imposed a fine of Rs 630 crore on it following a complaint by the Belaire Owners’ Association in Gurgaon. It was in May 2010 that the buyer’s association had complained against DLF.

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