Updated on: Thursday, September 23, 2021, 03:52 PM IST

FPJ Legal: Google moves Delhi high court against CCI over 'leak' of confidential report

The tech giant noted that it has "not yet received or reviewed this confidential report"
Google  | (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

Google | (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)


New Delhi: Google on Thursday said it has moved the Delhi High Court against the leak of antitrust body CCI's confidential report pertaining to the investigation against the tech giant.

Google, in a statement, said it aims to prevent any further unlawful disclosures of confidential findings by the investigative arm of Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The tech giant noted that it has "not yet received or reviewed this confidential report".

"Google filed a writ petition in the Delhi HC seeking redress in this matter, specifically protesting against the breach of confidence which impairs Google's ability to defend itself and harms Google and its partners," it added.

Last week, reports had stated that CCI's investigation arm, the Director General (DG), has found that Google indulged in unfair business practices in relation to Android.

After prima-facie finding alleged violation of competition norms, CCI - in early 2019 - had ordered a detailed probe against Google in this regard.

"We are deeply concerned that the Director General's Report, which contains our confidential information in an ongoing case, was leaked to the media while in the CCI's custody.

"Protecting confidential information is fundamental to any governmental investigation, and we are pursuing our legal right to seek redress and prevent any further unlawful disclosures," a Google spokesperson said in the statement.

The spokesperson added that the company cooperated fully and maintained confidentiality throughout the investigative process.

"... We hope and expect the same level of confidentiality from the institutions we engage with," the spokesperson added.

The company stated that the DG's findings "do not reflect the final decision of the CCI" and the submission of the investigation report is an interim procedural step.

"Google has not yet had the opportunity to review the DG's findings, much less submit its defence of any allegations," the statement said.

Anti-trust cases

In 2019, Google appeared to have misused its dominant position in India and reduced the ability of device manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system, Indian officials found before ordering a wider probe in an antitrust case, according to media report.

The CCI had launched a probe in April 2019 against Google for its alleged abuse of Android's dominant position to block rivals, but the contents of the directive detailing the initial assessment upon which that investigation was ordered have not been previously revealed.

The Indian case is similar to one Google faced in Europe, where regulators imposed a $5 billion fine on the company for forcing manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices.

Just recently, South Korea's competition watchdog now plans to fine Google at least 207.4 billion won ($177 million) for allegedly blocking smartphone makers like Samsung from using other operating systems, in what would be one of the country's biggest antitrust penalties ever.

Google had said it plans to challenge the fine. It has accused South Korean authorities of disregarding how its software policy benefits hardware partners and consumers.


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Published on: Thursday, September 23, 2021, 03:52 PM IST