Sunday, September 24, 2023

CAIT lauds NCLAT order for upholding Rs 200 crore CCI penalty on Amazon

Himalayan Paths

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, June 14: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) welcomed the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order for upholding the penalty of Rs.200 crore imposed by CCI on Amazon. Amazon had appealed against the penalty imposed in NCLAT.

Lauding the NCLAT decision to uphold the CCI penalty imposed on Amazon,  CAIT National Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal and national Secretary Suresh Sonthalia, in a joint statement stated, “The order underlines the dictum, ‘Truth always prevails’ and conveys a strong signal that India is not a banana Republic and the laws framed are not weak.-Any move to capture Indian e-commerce and retail trade by anyone or any organization will never succeed and another edition of East India Company will never be allowed in our country.”

NCLAT, on Tuesday, pronounced its judgment on the various appeals filed by Amazon, CAIT and other forums against the order dated December 17, 2021 passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), wherein it was held that Amazon had, by deliberate design, made false representations, misstatements and suppressed material information in seeking approval for the combination for its investment in Future Retail Ltd (FRL). The CCI Order also imposed penalties of over Rs. 200 Crore on Amazon.

The NCLAT in its observation held that Amazon had, in fact, suppressed information pertaining to the combination and had not disclosed all material particulars. The NCLAT upheld the CCI Order and confirmed the penalty of Rs. 200 Crores. Amazon had been directed to file a fresh notice and pay the penalty amount within 45 days. A copy of the judgment was awaited.

CAIT was represented by senior advocates Krishnan Venugopal and Saurabh Kirpal. Venugopal argued that Amazon’s entire transaction with the Future Group companies was based on the intention to illegally entering physical retail market, take over retail stores owned by Future Retail Limited (an Indian multi-brand retail company), and cut out the micro, small, medium enterprises and retail traders, a majority of whom were members of CAIT. Venugopal emphasized, “This will be a direct threat to numerous retail traders who would not be able to compete with such a large-scale e-commerce business model like Amazon’s.”

 The FDI laws were put in place to prevent this very type of anti-competitive practice, and to safeguard and ensure the freedom of trade of consumers and retail traders.  Krishnan Venugopal added, “Amazon has blatantly violated the FDI laws and illegally entered the Multi Brand Retail Trade (MBRT) sector with its indirect acquisition of FRL.”

“The NCLAT Judgment was a vindication of CAIT’s stand which consistently highlighted the brazen anti-competitive practices and violations of law by Amazon, including its actions of deep-discounting, B2C e-commerce and the manner in which it has entered the retail trading sector through its acquisitions of More Retail Ltd and Future Retail Ltd,” observed Praveen Khandelwal and Suresh Sonthalia in their joint statement.

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