© AP Photo / Ross D Franklin
The current year began on a rough note for e-commerce giants Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart even before the coronavirus pandemic engulfed India. The online marketplaces were accused of indulging in unethical business practices that resulted in an anti-trust probe against them.

Now, amid an existing economic and delivery crisis these platforms are facing when India is under a strict lockdown until 14 April, a fresh request for an investigation into their business ethics have reached legal authorities, the media reported on Tuesday.

A group of traders from the national capital called "Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh" has reached out to a court to re-visit the anti-trust probe on Amazon and Flipkart. The trader group believes that a flawed judgment followed after India's anti-trust watchdog called the Competition Commission of India (CCI) reviewed the first evidence in January.

At the time, the Karnataka High Court ordered a stay of the CCI investigation on these e-commerce giants which was triggered by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) - an umbrella body of traders in India.

Arguing that despite experiencing losses, e-commerce firms are able not only to operate, but offer deep discounts, National Secretary General of the trade body Praveen Khandelwal had requested that Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal roll out a robust e-commerce regulation policy.

CAIT had then substantiated its filing with figures that highlighted heavy losses to the companies. While Amazon operated at a loss of $800 million in 2019, its rival Flipkart incurred $228 million in losses the same year.

Later in February, Delhi Vyapaar Mahasangh also submitted its first deposition against Amazon and Flipkart to the CCI office, highlighting that the platforms were damaging the businesses and livelihoods of small scale traders and craftsmen.

The online platforms have not yet commented on the fresh anti-probe request against them.

The case is likely to be heard later this month, the media reports have added.