Google faces antitrust case in India

Search engine Google is facing a penalty of up to about $5 billion dollars if it is found to have violated antitrust laws in India.

Google has been facing a full investigation in India by the fair trade watchdog CCI for the last two years. The US antitrust watchdog has concluded that the company’s services were good for competition, but then in the Land of the Fee, big corporations can generally do what they like.

The case has been before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as well for over two years now and it relates to allegations that Google is abusing its dominant position in the internet search engine space.

A Google spokesperson told the Times of India that the outfit was extending full co-operation to the Competition Commission of India in their investigation.

Google has settled antitrust cases in the US and European Union, but the Indian competition regime does not have provisions for settlement processes. Besides, a complaint filed with CCI cannot be withdrawn. Finding prima facie evidence of violations, CCI had referred the matter to its investigation arm for a detailed probe.

Sources said that the DG has also collected comments from third parties with regard to this case and it is likely to submit its report to the CCI soon.

Apart from penalty, CCI is empowered to pass orders to correct a company’s conduct in the market place. The regulator can go for structural remedies that could see breaking up of dominant enterprises into separate businesses.

The Google complaint as first filed by advocacy group CUTS International in late 2011. Later, matrimonial website also filed a complaint.