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New Delhi: Competition Commission of India (CCI) has allowed budget hotel chain Fab Hotels to join a probe against online travel companies MakeMyTrip and Goibibo accused of alleged anti-competitive practices. The allegations against the travel portals were made by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI).

In an order issued earlier this month, CCI had asked Fab Hotels to share a public version of its impleadment application for the case. A copy of the order, passed on 5 February, has been seen by Mint. FHRAI, which alleged that these online portals abused their dominance, said inclusion of Fab Hotels in the ongoing investigation has strengthened FHRAI’s case against both the online entities.

Mint had reported on 30 October that MakeMyTrip and Goibibo were confident of defending their business practices before the regulator. According to a Mint report, budget hotel franchise service Oyo Homes & Hotels, which also faces probe for allegedly entering into an anti-competitive pact with the two travel portals, was ready to support both.

MakeMyTrip and Goibibo had earlier told Mint that they comply with principles of competition law, while providing their partners and consumers the best in-class service.

The CCI order observed that Casa2 Stays Pvt Ltd, which operates as Fab Hotels, sought to implead in the case arguing that it has substantial interest in the outcome of the proceedings.

“Our position now stands vindicated with Fab Hotels confirming that barriers were imposed by MakeMyTrip and Oyo as part of their tacit agreement to ultimately deprive public and other hotel players fair and equal access," said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President of FHRAI in a statement.

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