India court stalls Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probes: lawyers

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NEW DELHI / BENGALURU (Reuters) – An Indian antitrust investigation from Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Walmart & # 39; s (WMT.N) Flipkart has been put on hold by a court, three lawyers involved in the proceedings told Reuters on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: An Amazon employee walks through a turnstile gate at an Amazon Fulfillment Center (BLR7) on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, September 18, 2018. REUTERS / Abhishek N. Chinnappa / File Photo

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Amazon challenged the investigation at a court in Bengaluru this week and the court allowed a two-month stay, according to a P&A Law Offices lawyer representing Amazon and two other legal advisors involved in the case.

The Indian Competition Commission (CCI) launched an investigation into Amazon and Flipkart last month for alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices.

"This comes as a big relief," said Amazon counsel, who refused to be mentioned because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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The CCI did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The CCI ordered its investigation after a trader group based in New Delhi complained that the e-commerce giants promoted select sellers and, in turn, harmed other smaller players.

More than three days of Bengaluru Court hearings, Amazon denied the allegations and argued that CCI had insufficient evidence to order the probe.

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An Indian trade group lawyer, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, said he would appeal the court's decision to suspend the investigation.

Amazon and Flipkart have faced increasing criticism from Indian retailers accusing them of breaking local laws by amassing billions of dollars in losses to fund deep discounts and discriminate against small sellers.

The companies deny the allegations.

Last month the Trade Minister said that Amazon India is not a & # 39; great favor & # 39; by investing $ 1 billion in investments, exposing tensions with the US online retailer.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil; editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Jason Neely

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