Flipkart, Amazon appeal against order to resume CCI probe

Flipkart and Amazon have sought relief against an order which ordered a probe by against these ecommerce companies for alleged anti-competitive behaviour
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Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon have appealed before a division bench of the Karnataka High Court against an order that allowed fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) to resume investigations into allegations of anti-competitive behaviour by the ecommerce majors.

Flipkart and Amazon have filed their appeals separately before the division bench.

Emails sent to Flipkart did not elicit a response, while Amazon declined to comment on the matter.

In its appeal, Flipkart Internet has prayed "to set aside the impugned Order dated June 11, 2021, passed by the single Judge" and also to "set aside the CCI Order dated January 13, 2020".

It has also sought interim relief with a stay on the June 11 order that had given a go-ahead to a probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over allegations that these two ecommerce companies were adopting anti-competitive practices.

"....Given that there has been a stay on the CCI Order since 16 months and no prejudice will be caused if the investigation continues to remain stayed," Flipkart said in its petition, a copy of which was seen by PTI.

Flipkart, in its appeal, said "irreparable injury will be caused" to it, "if the investigation was to continue pending the present appeal" as it would render the present appeal infructuous.

In January 2020, the Competition Commission of India had directed its probe unit Director General (DG) to investigate the conduct of Flipkart, which was challenged before the single-member bench of the Karnataka High Court.

The single-member bench had on June 11, 2021, dismissed the plea and gave a go-ahead to the CCI probe.

Challenging the order, Flipkart - in its petition - said the single-member bench has failed to appreciate that the only allegation against Flipkart is that there is a strained link between WS Retail's former director and Omnitech Retail's director.

"The CCI is well aware that the structural links between the Appellant and WS Retail, if any, existed only till 2012 and that no such link exists today. The CCI was also aware that WS Retail ceased to be a seller on Appellant's e-commerce marketplace platform post 11 April 2017," it said.

In fact, neither WS Retail nor Omnitech Retail is in any way directly or indirectly, related to it, Flipkart contended and emphasised that sellers on its marketplace are independent third-parties.

Currently, there are over 2.3 lakh sellers on Flipkart platform undertaking sales, all of whom are unrelated to the company, it added.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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