Update 3: The Enforcement Directorate has mentioned in a tweet on their official account that they have not issued any show cause notice to Flipkart and they are not probing the e-commerce major’s Big Billion Sale.
Show Cause Notice not issued by ED to Flipkart. ED not inquiring into “Big Billion Sale”. — ED (@dir_ed) October 16, 2014
Update 2: We just called up Enforcement Directorate’s Bangalore office and they said no such order has been issued as of now.
Update: We’re currently awaiting a response from the Enforcement Directorate on the exact nature of the order, however ED officials has denied sending any notice to the company on the big billion sale to the Economic Times.
Top ED officials deny investigating Flipkart’s billion dollar sale. Say no notice has been issued to the company on it as is being reported — Rohini Singh (@Rohinisgh) October 14, 2014
There is already an ongoing ED probe into alleged FEMA violation by Flipkart but NO NEW investigation into the billion dollar sale, says ED — Rohini Singh (@Rohinisgh) October 14, 2014
A Flipkart spokesperson has also provided a boilerplate response to Medianama – “We are in complete compliance with the laws of the land and will cooperate with authorities when required.
Earlier: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a notice to Flipkart questioning them on its recent Big Billion Sale campaign, reports IBNLive. It says that ED is likely to impose a penalty of Rs 1,000 crore on the e-commerce major for allegedly violating rules during this sale.
A NDTV report however cites an Enforcement Directorate official who says they are still investigating complaints and they haven’t found any proof of any wrongdoing as of now. Note that we were unable to locate any relevant document on Enforcement Directorate’s website as of now. When we contacted Enforcement Directorate’s Delhi office, we were redirected to their Bangalore office, however no one is picking up their phones at the Bangalore office at the time of writing this article. We’ve also emailed the Enforcement Directorate and will update once we get a response.
This follows a week after Commerce and Industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned that they are looking into Flipkart’s Big Billion Sale, following several complaints from traders alleging that such campaigns would badly affect traditional retailers and following probe, they will take a call on whether e-commerce businesses should provide more clarity or it requires a separate policy altogether.
This was after a request from Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) last week, to probe the business model and trade practices of e-commerce companies to get a sense on how these companies were offering huge discounts during the ongoing festive season. Note that merchants, both small and big, have been voicing predatory pricing concerns for quite some time now. (Also read: Retailers asking e-commerce players to rein in discounts is hypocritical and anti-consumer)
ED vs Flipkart
It’s worth noting that ED is already probing Flipkart for an alleged breach Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and has been looking into the activities of the e-commerce site since 2012 for possible violation of foreign investment rules. This probe is for the period before April 2013, when Flipkart shifted to the marketplace model.
There were also reports earlier that the directorate had raided Flipkart’s offices in late 2012, but that was later denied by the company. In May this year, a source-based ET report had suggested that ED has got prima facie evidence that Flipkart has flouted the country’s FDI rules and is likely to send a notice imposing a fine of Rs 1,400 crore on the company. Last month, there were also reports of Enforcement Directorate probing Flipkart’s competitor Amazon for possible FDI violations.
A 1000 crore fine is what happens when no one at the Enforcement Directorate got Flipkart’s apology email. Check your spam guys. — Rishi Alwani (@slackerninja) October 14, 2014