The Competition Commission of India on Friday denied that it had leaked a confidential report of its investigation into Google’s Android smartphone agreements to the media, Live Law reported.
This came a day after Google filed a writ petition against the Competition Commission of India at the Delhi High Court “to prevent any further unlawful disclosures”.
Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, representing the Competition Commission of India, told Justice Rekha Palli on Friday that Google should sue the media houses that have claimed to access its report instead of making what it said were bald allegations against the government body.
“Not a word in their [Google’s] affidavit showing how we have done it,” Venkataraman said. “All tall claims.”
Last week, The Times of India had first reported that an investigation by the antitrust body found that Google had abused the dominant position of its android operating system in India to illegally hurt competitors. The government body had ordered the inquiry in 2019 after prima facie finding that competition norms were allegedly violated.
On Monday, Reuters had also reported the contents of the Competition Commission of India report.
During Friday’s hearing, Venkataraman said that The Times of India had done an exclusive report in the case. “Did it say CCI gave the report?” he asked. “They should file a suit against TOI, if they are so aggrieved.”
The Competition Commission of India’s counsel also alleged that the case was a “frivolous one”, meant to hamper their inquiry. “They want to frustrate this procedure so they don’t have to prove their case,” he added.
The commission added that Google had threatened to sue them, NDTV reported. “We have received a communication from a very senior officer of Google from California threatening the CCI Chairman that they will sue us,” the commission told the court, according to NDTV. “They are threatening us. If there is a leak by media, they can go and sue the media.”
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Google, told the judge that the confidential inquiry report was leaked to the media even before they were given a copy of it, NDTV reported. He also claimed that the Competition Commission of India was a “habitual defaulter”.
The Delhi High Court said it cannot make any observations about the confidentiality of the report currently and posted the matter for hearing on Monday.