India raids engineering firms after Coal India antitrust complaint

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FILE PHOTO: A worker sits on a truck being loaded with coal at a railway coal yard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

By Aditya Kalra and Sudarshan Varadhan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's antitrust body conducted raids at several small mining services companies on Friday for allegedly colluding on prices while offering services to the world's biggest coal miner, Coal India, four sources told Reuters.

Officers of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) raided companies in Kolkata in West Bengal state and Ranchi and Dhanbad in eastern state of Jharkhand, said two of the sources, all of whom declined to be named due to sensitivity of the operation.

The raids follow complaints from Bharat Coking Coal Limited, a unit of Coal India, and were related to price rigging of tenders worth at least 20 billion rupees ($260 million), two other sources said.

The services rendered by the mining services companies under investigation related to extraction and transportation of coal, one of the sources said.

The watchdog as a matter of policy does not make public details of its ongoing price cartel investigations, or raids.

Coal India did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The raids are the latest such CCI operation. Last week, the CCI raided top domestic sellers of online retail giant Amazon.com Inc, and some sellers on Walmart's Flipkart, following accusations of competition law violations.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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