The Karnataka HC has stayed the order for investigation passed by the CCI on the ground that the ED has already initiated an investigation into Flipkart and Amazon’s activities that are alleged to be in contravention of the FDI policy. The court was therefore of the opinion that FDI violations being in the realm of the ED and the Adjudicating Authority under the FEMA, the case of CCI v. Bharti Airtel would apply to the case and ED would have to give it’s report before the CCI could proceed with the matter. The HC also noted that while the CCI had asked Amazon for its comments in a previous case (filed by AIOVA), CCI should have also called the parties in the present matter when they were made respondents before passing the impugned order.
Both CAIT and Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh has decided to file an appeal against the order of the High Court very soon and both are consulting their respective lawyers. Meanwhile, the CAIT will push with the Union Government to speed up the ED investigation. In this context, a CAIT delegation will soon meet Commerce Minister Shri Piyush Goyal and Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
CAIT National Secretary General Mr Praveen Khandelwal termed “unfortunate & unexpected” the Interim stay granted to Amazon by the Karnataka High Court against CCI investigations into anti-competitive practices by Amazon and Flipkart. Lawyers of Amazon tried their best to misdirect the Court by creating confusion between ED investigation and CCI investigation. The only motive they had was to somehow stop the CCI investigation fearing exposure of their unethical business practices which would have become evident to the entire nation had the CCI probe been completed. However, the Hon’ble Court did acknowledge that the Enforcement Directorate should continue its probe against these companies for FDI Violations. The CAIT will now push the Government to expedite the ED probe to expose the malpractices of these companies and will also file an appeal very soon in the matter.
Mr Khandelwal reiterated that if Amazon is doing honest business and not indulging in any violation or unethical practice it was their moral responsibility as a Global entity and one of the world’s biggest corporates to face the investigation and come clean. By shying away from CCI investigation, Amazon has, in fact, created more doubts in the minds of everyone including it’s employees, stakeholders, authorities and the consumers that why such a big organisation feared an investigation and did everything possible to run away from facing the probe.