Google files petition in Delhi HC: “CCI leaked investigative report”

The investigation was ordered by CCI in 2019 on grounds that Google had exploited its dominant market position to restrict device-makers’ ability to use alternative mobile operating systems.

Delhi: Tech giant Google filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court on Thursday alleging a confidential interim fact-finding report submitted by the Director General’s office to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) connected to an ongoing investigation into Android smartphone agreements was leaked to the media. (ANI)

Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the leak to a bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, who have agreed to hear the matter tomorrow.

In a press statement, Google said that this report by the Director General (the investigative arm of the CCI) was leaked to the media on September 18 but Google has not yet received it. In response, it filed the petition protesting a breach of confidence “which impairs Google’s ability to defend itself and harms Google and its partners.”

“We are deeply concerned that the […] report […] was leaked to the media while in the CCI’s custody,” said a Google spokesperson. “Protecting confidential information is fundamental to any governmental investigation, and we are pursuing our legal right to seek redress and prevent any further unlawful disclosures. We cooperated fully and maintained confidentiality throughout the investigative process, and we hope and expect the same level of confidentiality from the institutions we engage with.”

The DG’s findings do not reflect the final decision of the CCI and the submission of the investigation report is an interim procedural step. Google has not yet had the opportunity to review the DG’s findings, much less submit its defence of any allegations, the statement read.

According to Reuters, Google spokesperson denied to comment on whether the company is seeking cease and desist orders on further media coverage of the report’s contents.

The CCI had ordered a probe in 2019 into how as a result of their dominant market share Google potentially adversely affected device-makers’ ability to use alternative operating systems and forced them to pre-install Google apps. Last week, Google had said it looked forward to working with the CII to “demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”