New Delhi: India’s Enforcement Directorate recently requested Amazon.com Inc for information regarding its operations in the country as the agency continues to investigate the US e-commerce giant, a senior agency source told Reuters today.
Last month, a source at the country’s Federal Financial Crime Agency said the department would examine the findings in a special report to Reuters recently that revealed that the company had for years had given preferential treatment to a small group of vendors on its platform in India and had used them. To circumvent the rules for foreign investment in the country.
Amazon has been undergoing investigation by the agency for several years for possible breaching foreign investment rules.
Such investigations usually take years in India, and in most cases details are not made public.
The Reuters special report was based on internal documents from Amazon dated between 2012 and 2019.
It provided an inside look at the game of cat and mouse that Amazon had played with the Indian government, as it modified company structures every time the government imposed new restrictions aimed at protecting small traders.
Today, a senior source at the Execution Directorate told Reuters, “It is clear that we sought information” from Amazon.
In response to a question about whether the agency requested documents from the company, the source said: “Information means information and documents.”
The source refused to comment further on the type of documents required, or whether any company executives had been called in for questioning.
A spokesperson for Amazon in India declined to comment.
In a Reuters report published last month, Amazon said it was confident it complied with Indian law.
She added that it “does not give preferential treatment to any seller in the market,” and that it “treats all sellers in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.”
Indian retailers, who make up a significant part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support base, have long claimed that e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart’s Flipcart are violating federal regulations and that their business practices are harmful to small merchants.
The companies deny the allegations.
Documents reviewed by Reuters showed that Amazon helped a small number of sellers thrive on its platform in India, giving them reduced fees and helping one strike private deals with major tech manufacturers such as Apple Inc.
The company also exerted significant control over the inventory of some of the largest sellers on Amazon, and the documents showed, although it says publicly that all of the sellers operate independently on its platform.