An influential trade association has told the government the Enforcement Directorate (ED) “served notice only to Flipkart and not to Amazon” when the Karnataka High Court had prime facie found both e-commerce firms guilty of indulging in anti-competitive prices.
ED’s action “raises suspicion”, said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), in a letter to the investigating agency’s director after it sent a Rs 10,600-crore recovery notice against Flipkart for allegedly violating foreign exchange rules.
CAIT said it has also made a representation on Saturday to Piyush Goyal, minister for commerce and industry, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and urged them to take action.
A spokesperson of Amazon India did not respond to queries on the issue.
CAIT has been in the forefront of a campaign against global e commerce companies, saying they should be banned and penalised for allegedly violating foreign investment policies. However, the global e commerce players have stood firm that there have not been any violations at all. CAIT has urged that their anti-competitive policies have destroyed the livelihood of small traders.
In its response to the draft amendment to the government’s Consumer Protection ( e-commerce) Rules 2020, CAIT has suggested some sweeping changes, It wants a a clear transparent definition of different e commerce entities. According to CAIT, an inventory e-commerce entity would mean an entity which runs a retail store on its own e commerce platform, owns the inventory of goods and services and sells such goods and services directly to the consumer on a principal to principal basis.
It has also suggested that no e-commerce entity shall make any segmented offers to particular consumers on an arbitrary basis. The classification of consumers shall be on a transparent and objective basis and offerings shall be uniform across consumers. Secondly, an e-commerce firm will also not use the information collected for sale of goods directly or indirectly by any seller related or not. Thirdly, an e commerce marketplace entity cannot directly or indirectly license its brand or private label products to third parties to be sold on the platform.