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CAIT demands high-level enquiry by govt to probe 'unholy nexus' of e-commerce companies, banks

Allegations of price distortion were long being levelled at ecomm. That war is now becoming serious.

Updated: Oct 20, 2019, 07.04 PM IST

Piyush Goyal had earlier said that the govt was looking into alleged predatory pricing by Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.

NEW DELHI: Traders' body CAIT on Sunday demanded a high-level enquiry by the Centre to probe the "unholy nexus" of e-commerce firms, companies owning brands and banks for causing price distortion in the country's e-commerce market. Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the alleged distortions, both in the e-commerce and brick & mortar format of retail.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier this week said that the government was looking into alleged predatory pricing by Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.

In a statement, CAIT claimed that not only e-commerce firms like Amazon and Flipkart, but a large number of companies owning brands, particularly in mobile, FMCG, electronics, electrical appliances, footwear, garments and other sectors, and various banks are also responsible for distortion in prices of different products on online portals.

"It is apparent that these brand owning companies are also exploiting the offline market, being hand in glove with e-commerce companies having separate price policy for both online and offline market, which is a clear violation of the Competition Act," the traders' body said.

It also criticised the banks giving cash back and various types of discounts for purchasing goods from e-commerce portals by making payments through their respective credit/debit cards.

CAIT said the "vicious nexus" of brands, banks and other service providers was creating distortion in the e-commerce market and creating an uneven playing field which runs contrary to both the FDI policy and the Competition Act.

Khandelwal said CAIT representatives will soon meet Commerce Minister Goyal, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on this subject and demand justice.

The traders' body said it will also seek an appointment with the prime minister to apprise him of the "unholy nexus" and seek remedial measures.

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