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India’s Antitrust Investigation Into Amazon, Flipkart On Hold

india, antitrust, investigation, amazon, flipkart, ecommerce, competition Commission of India, Bengaluru court, stay

The Bengaluru court in India on Friday (Feb. 14) put an antitrust investigation into Amazon and Flipkart on hold for two months following a challenge by Amazon, Reuters reported, citing lawyers.

Two attorneys involved in the proceedings told Reuters on Friday that Amazon submitted a challenge to the court.

Last month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered an investigation into Amazon and Flipkart, which is owned by Walmart, over antitrust allegations. Both eCommerce firms have reportedly been in violation of competition law and certain discounting practices. They are accused of offering deep discounts and preferred listings, as well as promoting private labels and partnering exclusively with certain phone brands.

The Bengaluru court granted a two-month stay on the probe, according to the Indian law firm representing Amazon, P&A Law Offices.

On Monday (Feb. 10), Amazon filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court on the probe, saying the order was passed “without application of mind,” and was perverse and unreasonable. The writ further said that the proceedings would cause irreparable harm to the eCommerce giant’s reputation if the hearing were allowed to persist.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Thursday (Feb. 13) said it wanted to meet with President Donald Trump about the business practices that Amazon and Flipkart follow in India.

Amazon and Flipkart have had to deal with increasing criticism from India’s physical retailers, who have said that both companies are in violation of Indian law by posting billion-dollar losses while at the same time funding deep discounts and discriminating against small sellers. The companies deny the allegations.

The investigation was initially launched by the CCI following complaints by a New Delhi trader group, which said the eCommerce giants favored select sellers.

Refuting those charges, Amazon said in the recent filing that the CCI order “is bereft of any foundation,” and said the investigation order “suffers from non-application of mind as it appears to contain no reference to the finding of an appreciable adverse effect on competition.”

The trade group has been briefed about it, and reportedly will defend against it, so the probe is not dropped.

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