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Flipkart moves Supreme Court against probe in antitrust case

Based on the information received from DVM, CCI directed its director general to launch a probe in January 2020 for alleged violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act. (MINT)Premium
Based on the information received from DVM, CCI directed its director general to launch a probe in January 2020 for alleged violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act. (MINT)

  • CCI hasn’t highlighted any agreement that violates the Competition Act, the firm said
  • There is also no agreement put on record by CCI between the petitioner and Flipkart, which led to the probe in the first place, it argued

BENGALURU : Walmart-owned Flipkart filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Karnataka high court’s recent decision to allow Competition Commission of India (CCI) to continue its investigation against the e-commerce firm and its rival Amazon India for alleged competition law violations, two people told Mint on condition of anonymity.

In its 700-page written appeal on Tuesday, Flipkart said the court has failed to argue the main issue that CCI did not comply with its own threshold requirements before ordering an investigation, said the people mentioned above.

CCI has not highlighted any agreement that violates the provisions of competition law or shown the existence of a prima facie finding of any violation of the Competition Act, Flipkart further argued, one of the persons said.

There is also no agreement put on record by CCI between the petitioner (the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, or DVM) and Flipkart, which led to the investigation in the first place, it said. Flipkart’s legal counsel had also made this contention in front of a single-judge bench of the court, justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar, who dismissed Amazon’s and Flipkart’s writ petition on 11 June, allowing the CCI probe against their business practices.

A division bench of the high court had on Friday dismissed Amazon’s and Flipkart’s separate petitions on the matter, stating that if the appellants are not involved in any violation, they should not feel shy of an investigation by CCI. Flipkart also argued in its appeal to the apex court that by passing its latest order, the high court has also lowered the threshold required for an investigation under Section 26 (1) of the Competition Act.

The matter first gained prominence after DVM, a group of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in 2019, submitted a plea with CCI against Flipkart and Amazon for abusing their market dominance and giving preferential listing and deep discounting on products sold by select vendors in which they control indirect stakes. Based on the information received from DVM, CCI in January 2020 asked its director general to launch a probe into the alleged violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act.

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