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Court Defers to March 17 Hearing on Plea of DLF

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred to March 17 the hearing on DLF Ltd's plea on the issue of jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in a case relating to alleged adoption of "unfair business practices" by the real estate major.

Justice S J Mukhopadhyaya, heading the bench, said he was due to retire on March 14 and it would not be possible for him to wind up the hearing and deliver the judgement in the case.

Earlier, it had declined DLF's plea to restrain CCI from passing more penalty orders against it for alleged abuse of dominant position in real estate markets till apex court is hearing the case.

Prior to it, DLF had filed a fresh undertaking in the apex court saying it should be allowed to deposit balance Rs 480 crore out of total Rs 630 crore fine imposed on it by CCI in six monthly instalments starting January 15.

The competition watchdog had slapped a fine of Rs 630 crore on the real estate firm for allegedly resorting to unfair business practices.

DLF had deposited Rs 150 crore of the total fine with the apex court registry. The court had in its August 27 last year's order said the Registry would be at liberty to invest it in any of the nationalised banks.

DLF had moved the apex court expressing difficulty in meeting the November 26 last year deadline to deposit 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 remaining Rs 580 crore in the next three months, that was before November 27.

The real estate firm has sought more time to deposit the remaining amount claiming it was in serious financial trouble, which was aggravated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India's decision to ban the company and six of its senior officials from accessing capital markets for three years for an alleged non-disclosure in the 2007 IPO filing.

The apex court had admitted DLF's appeal in which Haryana government and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) were 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 Belaire Owners' Association in Gurgaon. It was in May 2010 that the buyer's association had complained against DLF.



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