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Walmart’s Flipkart says Indian probe shouldn’t treat it the same as Amazon By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A cell phone exhibiting a picture of Indian on-line retailer Flipkart is seen in entrance of a Walmart Inc brand displayed on this illustration image taken July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

By Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Walmart (NYSE:)’s Flipkart shouldn’t be handled the identical as rival Amazon (NASDAQ:) in an Indian antitrust probe because the proof towards the 2 companies was “qualitatively completely different”, Flipkart argued in a courtroom submitting seen by Reuters.

Each Amazon and Flipkart have challenged the Competitors Fee of India (CCI) in courtroom as they search revocation of an Indian courtroom’s June determination to permit an antitrust probe towards them to proceed. The businesses deny any wrongdoing.

India’s authorities has known as the U.S. companies smug and accused them of utilizing authorized routes to stall the investigation.

In ultimate submissions made to a courtroom in southern India’s Karnataka state, the Walmart unit argued that CCI and the courtroom “confuse the info” between the case of Amazon and Flipkart, and ignored that they had been “fierce rivals”.

To again its arguments, it mentioned {that a} enterprise settlement examined by the CCI earlier than ordering its probe was solely between Amazon and its sellers, and there was no such proof towards the Walmart unit.

“The allegations and the proof earlier than the CCI towards the Appellant had been qualitatively completely different from these regarding Amazon … The CCI ought to have independently examined the case towards every of the 2 platforms,” Flipkart mentioned in its 46-page submission, which was not public.

The Indian courtroom is prone to go a written order on the appeals in coming days.

Flipkart and Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The CCI did not reply outdoors common enterprise hours on Sunday.

For years, Amazon and Flipkart have denied allegations from brick-and-mortar retailers about circumventing Indian regulation by creating complicated enterprise constructions.

Commerce minister Piyush Goyal final month lashed out on U.S. e-commerce giants for submitting authorized challenges and failing to adjust to the CCI’s probe, saying “in the event that they don’t have anything to cover … why do not they reply to the CCI?”

In February, a Reuters investigation primarily based on inside Amazon paperwork confirmed the U.S. agency for years had helped a small variety of sellers prosper on its platform in India, utilizing them to bypass overseas funding legal guidelines. Amazon additionally has oblique fairness stakes in two of its huge on-line sellers, Cloudtail and Appario, which get “sponsored charges”, Reuters reported.

The Walmart unit argued in its submission that “not like within the case of Amazon”, there have been no structural hyperlinks of any type between Flipkart and its sellers.

Flipkart “should have been handled otherwise from Amazon,” it mentioned.

Amazon and Flipkart are main gamers in an e-retail market India forecasts shall be price $200 billion by 2026.

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