CCI to look into Google's grievances on report leak

CCI to look into Google's grievances on leakage of report, HC told

The court said in case Google has any further grievance that the information was being leaked it will be open for it to take legal recourse available

According to reports, the CCI probe is stated to have found Google allegedly abusing its dominant position and indulging in unfair practices with respect to mobile operating system Android. Credit: AFP File Photo

The Competition Commission of India on Monday told the Delhi High Court it is not responsible for leaking its confidential interim fact-finding report on "unfair practices" by Google to the media but it will set up a panel to look into the tech giant’s allegations.

A single bench of Justice Rekh Palli took on record the stand of CCI that it has no objection to accept all requests of Google with regard to maintaining confidentiality in its investigations.

The court also noted that the CCI, in its meeting held on September 23, had already taken note of the allegations raised by Google and had recommended the formation of a fact-finding committee to look into the alleged leak of confidential probe information by media.

Also read: HC to go through CCI report; refuses to pass order on Google's plea to restrain leakage of information

However, the HC gave Google the liberty to take “legal recourse” if there is any further leak in the media about a confidential interim fact-finding report submitted by the Director General's office to the CCI relating to the probe.

It also closed the matter, saying nothing survived in the internet giant’s petition.

“This court has not expressed any opinion on the claims made by the petitioner (Google) that it is respondent 1 (CCI) which is responsible for the said leaks,” Justice Palli said.

Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, appearing for the CCI, submitted that the assumption of leak by the Commission was wrong. He said even though the Commission stands by the legality of its order on the Google's appeal against the DG’s probe order on its confidentiality claim, to expedite the proceedings it has no objection to accept the request of Google on confidentiality.

Senior counsel AM Singhvi, appearing for Google, told the bench to record the CCI’s stand that it was bound by its statements so as to ensure that the tech giant's grievance stands addressed.

In its plea filed last week, Google said that the “unlawful disclosure” of the Director General’s Report and CCI’s failure to preserve confidentiality damaged its reputation. It is further prejudicial and renders its rights of defence and due process redundant in proceedings before the CCI and the DG, it claimed.

The company also contended that leakage of information in the ongoing investigation by the CCI into its Android smartphone agreements, violated its “freedom of trade” and “severely" affected the right to conduct business.

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