The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation into an alleged violation of competition laws by e-commerce companies, Flipkart and Amazon.

As per the CCI, exclusive arrangements between smartphone brands and e-commerce platforms merits an investigation.

The move follows a complaint by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, alleging preferential treatment given to certain sellers by the online retail giants.

The allegations include the exclusive launch of mobile phones, preferred sellers on the marketplace, deep discounting and preferential listing/promotion of private labels. According to the petitioner, Flipkart provides deep discounts to select preferred sellers like Omnitech Retail and Amazon offers the same to Cloudtail India and Appario Retail. As per the traders, several of Amazon and Flipkart’s preferred sellers are affiliated with or controlled by the companies themselves, either directly or indirectly. Further, traders have alleged that exclusive partnerships coupled with preferential treatment to a few sellers and discounting practices has created an ecosystem that may lead to an adverse effect on competition.

The CCI has directed the Director-General to complete the investigation and submit a report within 60 days of receiving the order.