Bashundhara says Bashundhara Miniket is not the company’s product

The company attends a Competition Commission hearing over price rises

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 28 Sept 2022, 07:35 PM
Updated : 28 Sept 2022, 07:35 PM

Leading conglomerate Bashundhara Group has said it does not produce Bashundhara Miniket or any rice marketed in its name. 

It was among six companies that attended Bangladesh Competition commission hearings over the hike in prices of rice, flour, egg and cosmetics under eight brands on Wednesday. 

The commission recently filed 44 cases against dozens of firms and merchants on charges of creating an artificial crisis in the market by raising the prices of essential commodities. 

On the third day of the hearing, Redwanur Rahman, head of sales and marketing at Bashundhara Group, said the group’s Bashundhara Food and Beverage is involved in the flour business, but not rice. 

The commission, however, sued the company in two cases - one related to rice and the other to flour. 

Redwanur said they were not aware that someone was selling rice by using the company’s name. 

The commission’s Chairman Mofizul Islam then said it was Bashundhara’s duty to find out who was using its name. 

The commission asked the company to report on the matter within Oct 16. The commission will also hear the case against the company over flour prices on that day. 

The prices of fine varieties of rice rose from Tk 60 a kg to Tk 75 or Tk 80 recently after businesses raised prices citing a hike in transport costs due to fuel price rise. 

Some rice varieties marketed by the conglomerates in packets have become as costly as Tk 90 per kg. 

The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection then held meetings with the representatives of the companies and merchants over the price hike of essential commodities.  

After it found evidence of market manipulation, the Competition Commission sued the firms. 

Bashundhara Group was sued in one of the cases over a rice price hike after the commission found Bashundhara Miniket and other rice varieties of the same name. 

During Tuesday’s hearing, representatives of major rice suppliers admitted to selling over-polished coarse varieties of rice by rebranding them as popular varieties like Miniket and Najirshail. 

HEARINGS RESET 

On Wednesday, the commission also heard a case against Square Toiletries over price rises of soap, aromatic soap and detergent. 

Bibhuti Tarafder, a lawyer for Square, said they could not prepare necessary records because of a delay in receiving the commission’s notice. 

The commission then set Oct 21 to hear the case against Square. 

After Erfan Group, Nourish Bangladesh and Diamond Egg said they could not prepare the papers for the same reason, the commission set different dates for the hearing of their cases.

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