The world’s largest search engine, Google is facing anti-trust investigation in India. The probe is headed by fair trade watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI), and if found guilty, the company can face a penalty of up to $5 Billion. The penalty will come forth if Google is found to have violated competition norms of the country.
According to a TOI report, Google said it is “extending full cooperation” to the CCI in its investigation. Google also emphasised that a judgement of a two-year review by the US antitrust watchdog has concluded that the company’s services were good for competition.
The complaint against Google was first filed by advocacy group CUTS International in 2011. Later, a matrimonial website, Matrimony.com, also filed a complaint. Matrimony.com’s counsel, Ferida Satarawala said, “Google’s unfair use of trademarks as well as its retaliatory conduct are not specifically addressed in the European settlement and are distinct theories of harm being pursued by the CCI. Therefore, this settlement is unlikely to address CCI’s concerns in our case.”
This case has been before the CCI for over two years. It relates to allegations that Google is abusing its dominant position in the internet search engine space. Under competition regulations, an entity found violating the norms can be granted with penalty of up to 10 per cent of its three-year annual average turnover. Google’s annual revenues in the last three years amount to $49.3 billion and the maximum penalty can be up to nearly $5 billion.
Google has settled anti-trust cases in US and European Union, while the Indian competition regime does not have provisions for settlement process and a complaint filed with CCI cannot be withdrawn. Due to first hand evidence of many violations, CCI had reportedly referred the matter to its investigation arm, Director General (DG), for a detailed probe.