An Indian court dismissed pleas by Amazon.com and Walmart’s Flipkart to quash an antitrust investigation into the business practices of the US firms, dealing them a blow in their key growth market.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced its investigation in January 2020 after a trader group’s complaint accused the firms of promoting some “preferred sellers” and hurting business for smaller sellers.
A court had put the investigation on hold last year after Amazon and Flipkart challenged it saying the CCI had no evidence the e-commerce giants were harming competition.
On Friday, Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar of the high court in the southern state of Karnataka said he was dismissing the petitions by Amazon and Flipkart, and refused them any further relief.
“It would be unwise to prejudge the issues … at this stage and scuttle the investigation,” Kumar wrote in his 51-page order.
Amazon said it would review the order “carefully and then decide on the next steps”. Flipkart did not immediately respond.
Abir Roy, a lawyer for the Indian trader group Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, told Reuters the judge’s decision effectively paves the way to restart the investigation, which has been on hold since February 2020.
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