EXCLUSIVE Walmart’s Flipkart, Amazon ask India’s high courtroom to cease antitrust queries

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NEW DELHI, July 29 (Reuters) – Walmart (WMT.N)-owned Flipkart and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) have requested India’s Supreme Courtroom to restrain the nation’s antitrust physique from in search of delicate enterprise info in an e-commerce investigation, in keeping with filings seen by Reuters.

The requests, in courtroom paperwork which haven’t been made public, illustrate the extent of concern on the two e-commerce giants over the investigation, which has prompted public spats between U.S. companies and the Indian authorities.

In its investigation, the Competitors Fee of India (CCI) sought a listing of Amazon and Flipkart’s high sellers, on-line reductions and pacts with smartphone makers, amongst 32 questions it requested on July 15, the paperwork confirmed.

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Flipkart informed the Supreme Courtroom the small print sought strengthened its worry of the “invasive nature” of the investigation, and requested for each the data request and the general investigation to be placed on maintain.

“The knowledge sought…is delicate in nature,” Flipkart mentioned within the courtroom doc. “It’s evident that the director-general is decided to take precipitative motion,” it added, referring to the watchdog’s investigation chief.

Amazon made an analogous request of the courtroom, saying the watchdog had sought a “wealth of delicate info inside a deadline as quick as 15 days.”

Each companies mentioned the investigation might have an effect on their popularity and goodwill. The courtroom is prone to take up the case in coming days.

Flipkart, Amazon and the CCI didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Though India’s commerce minister and a southern courtroom have mentioned the businesses shouldn’t draw back from inquiries, Amazon and Flipkart say the CCI lacked proof and shouldn’t have launched the investigation final yr. learn extra

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 the businesses 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. learn extra

The CCI questions additionally sought particulars of insurance policies on showcasing merchandise on the web sites of Flipkart and Amazon, and inner communication with sellers over sale occasions, the courtroom paperwork confirmed.

The watchdog additionally requested for a listing of the agency’s high 100 sellers between 2015 to 2020 and top-selling merchandise. For Amazon, particularly, the CCI sought copies of all agreements it has signed with two of its sellers, Cloudtail and Appario.

In February, a Reuters investigation primarily based on Amazon paperwork confirmed it had given preferential therapy for years to a small group of sellers, together with Cloudtail and Appario, and used them to bypass Indian legislation.

Indian retailers say Amazon and Flipkart favour choose sellers on their platforms, to the drawback of smaller gamers.

The businesses deny any wrongdoing.

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Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi and Abhirup Roy in Mumbai; Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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