Walmart-owned Flipkart has requested India’s Supreme Courtroom to restrain the nation’s antitrust physique after it requested delicate questions in what the agency known as an “invasive” investigation of its e-commerce operations.
The request, in a courtroom submitting greater than 700 pages lengthy that has not been made public, illustrates the e-commerce large’s degree of concern over the investigation, which has prompted public spats between US companies and the Indian authorities.
In its investigation, which incorporates Amazon, the Competitors Fee of India (CCI) sought an inventory of Flipkart’s prime sellers, on-line reductions and pacts with smartphone makers, amongst 32 questions it requested on July 15.
Flipkart advised the Supreme Courtroom the main points sought strengthened its concern of the “invasive nature” of the investigation, and requested it to placed on maintain each the knowledge request and the general investigation.
“The data sought…is delicate in nature,” Flipkart mentioned within the courtroom doc, including that such investigations might have severe penalties on its repute and goodwill.
“It’s evident that the director-general is set to take precipitative motion,” it added, referring to the watchdog’s investigation chief.
The antitrust physique additionally despatched a request for data to Amazon within the investigation, mentioned a supply who sought anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Flipkart, Amazon and the CCI didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Though India’s commerce minister and a courtroom in south India have mentioned the businesses mustn’t shrink back from inquiries, Amazon and Flipkart say the CCI lacked proof and mustn’t have launched the investigation final yr.
The request to the Supreme Courtroom comes after the state courtroom dismissed the businesses’ pleas in June and July, saying the investigation should proceed.
The antitrust physique, which has set Flipkart a July 30 deadline to reply its queries, had plans to hurry the investigation into Amazon and Flipkart after the clearance from the courtroom, Reuters reported in June.
The CCI questions additionally sought particulars of insurance policies on showcasing merchandise on Flipkart’s web site and inner communication with sellers over sale occasions, the courtroom doc confirmed.
The watchdog additionally requested for an inventory of Flipkart’s prime 100 sellers between 2015 to 2020 and top-selling merchandise.
“The investigation…entails an intrusive and free-ranging inquiry,” Flipkart mentioned within the doc, including that it might have a “super” impression.
Indian retailers have mentioned Flipkart favours choose sellers on its platforms to the drawback of smaller gamers.
In February, a Reuters investigation based mostly on Amazon paperwork confirmed it had given preferential remedy for years to a small group of sellers and used them to bypass Indian regulation.
The businesses deny any wrongdoing.
© Thomson Reuters 2021