The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had no material evidence on record against e-commerce marketplace Amazon and Flipkart to prove that they entered into exclusive deals with smartphone manufacturers, according to a Karnataka High Court order.
“… there ‘appears’ to be exclusive partnership between smartphone manufacturers and e-commerce platforms. This finding is based on allegations made in the complaint,” said an ET report quoting the court order.
The competition watchdog had ordered a probe on a complaint by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, which had alleged that Amazon and Flipkart were giving preference to select sellers and offering deep discounts by indulging in anti-competitive agreements.
“The contention urged on behalf of the petitioner (Amazon) that CCI has imagined (the) existence of ‘some agreement’ merits consideration,” the order further read.
Last week, the High Court had stayed the CCI probe into Amazon India and Flipkart. The court granted eight weeks to the e-commerce companies to file their responses.
This came after Amazon filed a writ petition on Feb 10 against CCI’s probe order.
Earlier, Amazon’s counsel had raised questions on CCI’s jurisdiction on the probe saying that the regulator’s order is infringing on the jurisdiction of the central government.
Amazon had called the CCI order ‘perverse, arbitrary, untenable in law’. On Jan 13, the CCI had issued an order to investigate the alleged competition law violations by e-commerce players- Amazon and Flipkart.
Both the e-tailers have been under the scanner over allegations of offering deep discounts, preferred listings, promotion of private labels and exclusive partnerships with phone brands.
However, both the e-tailers have deemed all these allegations baseless.