Flipkart urges Karnataka High Court to quash CCI probe


New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS): Days after the Karnataka High Court ordered a stay on the anti-trust probe on e-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart, Walmart-backed Flipkart has moved the court urging it to set aside the probe.

In its writ petition, Flipkart Internet Private Ltd said that although the High Court has ordered a stay on the investigation, the probe order of Competition Commission of India (CCI) "deserves to be set aside".

"The Impugned Order has directed an investigation without making a determination of the existence of an essential jurisdiction fact i.e. the existence of a 'prima facie' case," said the petition dated February 18. It further said that the order was passed in a pre-determined manner, by treating allegation of abuse of dominance as an anti-competitive agreement.

In its petition, Flipkart questioned the "bona fides" of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which has been protesting against what it calls "deep discounts" by the e-commerce majors and reached out to the CCI and the government against them.

"The CCI is duty bound to act with caution, especially, in assessing the bona fides of the informant. In this, the petitioner submits that Confederation of All India Traders has repeatedly indulged in forum shopping against the petitioner by approaching various judicial forums, directly and through its sister entities raising exactly the same baseless allegations against the petitioner," it said.

The petition said: "This court be pleased to issue a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, order, direction to quash and set aside the impugned order dated 13.01.2020 issued by respondent no. 1 (CCI)."

The Karnataka High Court on February 14 ordered a stay on the probe into violation of competition laws by e-commerce giants and asked the respondents in the matter, including CCI and Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and Flipkart to file their responses within eight weeks.

The High Court was of the view that the ongoing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should be first be completed. Last year, the ED initiated investigation against both Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of the foreign exchange law.

Amazon had on February 10 filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking stay on the CCI probe order into its alleged violations of the competition laws.

The anti-trust body had in January had ordered an enquiry into the operations of both Amazon and Flipkart on multiple counts, including deep discounts and exclusive tie-ups with preferred sellers.

  

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