ANTITRUST

Indian Court Pressed To Restart Antitrust Probe Of Amazon, Flipkart

Indian Court Pressed To Restart Antitrust Probe

A group of Indian retailers is appealing a court order that put an antitrust probe of Amazon and Walmart-owned online retailer Flipkart on hold, according to published reports.

The move is the latest in a legal battle over India-based Flipkart and Amazon’s business activities on the subcontinent. The court filing comes in the midst of India’s nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left businesses reeling.

As previously reported, Uber India has just struck a deal with Flipkart in India to deliver “everyday essentials,” as the ride-hailing company seeks to jump-start its business after shutting down most services. The delivery service will target major Indian cities.

Now, the Confederation of All India Traders aims to breathe new life into the country’s antitrust investigation of Flipkart and Amazon. The group’s affiliate, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, is launching the appeal.

In a legal filing reported by Reuters, the business group urged the court to allow the Competition Commission of India investigation to continue, stating that the regulators had met the grounds for pursuing a probe. In February, the high court in India’s Karnataka state had put the investigation on hold.

The Commission’s investigation was initiated due to complaints by the Delhi-based business group, which argued that the retail giants were violating the country’s laws on competition and discounting practices.

Amazon had argued that the Competition Commission had failed to present sufficient evidence to warrant such a probe.

At the time of the court ruling, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal termed the interim stay of the antitrust probe as "unfortunate and unexpected."

"However, the court did acknowledge that the Enforcement Directorate should continue its probe against these companies for FDI Violations,” he added, per a report. “The CAIT will now push the government to expedite the ED probe to expose the malpractices of these companies and will also file an appeal very soon in the matter.”

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