India Raids Liquor Sellers In Price-Fixing Probe

India’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday raided the offices of Associated Alcohols & Breweries and Som Distilleries as part of an investigation into alleged price fixing in liquor products, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) officials were conducting search and seizure operations across several cities in a case about the companies allegedly violating antitrust laws by colluding on prices while seeking necessary regulatory approvals from states, the sources added.

The investigation is looking at price fixing of so-called country liquor, or low-priced locally made alcohol, the sources added.

India has strict regulations for the alcohol sector. Most states individually regulate alcohol pricing and the companies need to submit and get prices approved every year by the local authorities.

Without directly commenting on the raids, a spokesperson for Som Distilleries said liquor prices were fixed by government officials and the company has no say over them.

“We are not the authority to fix the price … This is a fully government controlled business,” the spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

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