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Flipkart’s Hiring of Former CCI Official During Antitrust Probe Draws Controversy

 |  October 10, 2023

InGovern Research Services, a prominent corporate governance advisory firm, announced on Friday that it has lodged an official complaint with the Finance Minister’s Office and the Competition Commission of India (CCI), citing concerns related to a potential breach of trust.

The complaint centers around the hiring of Anku Sharma, a former CCI official, by Flipkart in March 2023. Sharma had previously served as a key member of the CCI team responsible for investigating Flipkart. Following his departure from the CCI, Sharma assumed the position of Antitrust – Subject Matter Expert at Flipkart-Walmart.

InGovern has raised questions regarding the integrity of the ongoing CCI investigations into e-commerce giants Flipkart-Walmart and Amazon, given Sharma’s transition to Flipkart. Since 2020, the CCI has been actively engaged in probing e-commerce players, with a particular focus on allegations of market monopolization and anti-competitive practices. These allegations encompassed issues such as preferential treatment for specific sellers and the potential abuse of dominant market positions.

Related: Amazon, Flipkart Lobby Against India’s Digital Lending Rules

In a statement issued on Friday, InGovern expressed concerns that Sharma’s move from the CCI to Flipkart may compromise the impartiality of the ongoing investigations, thereby threatening the integrity of the CCI’s findings. The statement read, “There is a high probability that the investigation by CCI may have been compromised during the period Sharma was part of the investigation team at the CCI. The entire chain of events is highly suspicious, something that casts a cloud of doubt over the impartiality of the investigation, and therefore, the entire findings of the CCI during Sharma’s tenure should be deemed compromised.”

InGovern further recommended initiating a fresh investigation into this antitrust issue and called for appropriate measures to rectify any potential aberrations within the CCI. The corporate governance advisory firm’s complaint highlights the importance of maintaining transparency, trust, and impartiality in regulatory bodies entrusted with overseeing antitrust matters.

Source: The Hindu Business Line