India’s antitrust authority, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), on Thursday launched raids on two domestic top sellers at online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. over allegations of violating competition laws, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Reuters.
Indian retailers, a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support base, have long claimed that Amazon’s platform largely benefits a few big sellers as the company engages in predatory pricing that hurts their business.
The company claims to comply with all Indian laws.
The exact nature of the alleged violations that led to Thursday’s raids was not immediately clear. The two sellers were Cloudtail and Appario, the sources said on condition of anonymity as the details weren’t public.
Amazon, which has an indirect stake in both, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cloudtail, Appario and the regulator CCI also did not immediately respond to email inquiries.
A source said the raids, which were carried out in the capital New Delhi and Bengaluru’s technology hub, were related to the CCI investigation ordered in January 2020.
In this case, Amazon and Walmart’s rival, Flipkart, face allegations of anti-competitive practices, such as: B. promoting preferred sellers on websites and giving preference to offers from some sellers.
The companies reject the allegations, the antitrust investigations are ongoing.
Amazon has previously stated that it “does not favor any seller in its marketplace” and “treats all sellers fairly, transparently and non-discriminatoryly”.
A Reuters An investigation last year based on Amazon documents showed that for years Amazon had given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers, including Cloudtail, and used them to circumvent Indian laws.
The report revealed that for years Amazon had helped a small number of sellers thrive on its platform with discounted fees and Cloudtail’s help in closing special deals with big tech companies.
The antitrust authorities informed a court Reuters report corroborated evidence it received against Amazon.
In August, Amazon and Cloudtail decided that the latter would no longer be a seller by May 2022.