Rishabh Chopra

Vahura (New Delhi)
Partner

Rishabh is an experienced search and management consultant for the legal and tax industry with a manifest history of delivering value and innovative client solutions in Indian and regional legal and tax ecosystems. He has strong business acumen with stress on business development, sales and marketing, search, process optimisation and revenue maximisation.

Rishabh heads the Tax Recruitment vertical at Vahura and is based in Delhi NCR. He has a proven track record in finding talented leaders in the tax, finance and legal domains, offering market information and advice, leading complex and niche searches and meeting the recruitment needs of clients. Rishabh works with leading law firms, funds, tax and consulting firms as well as multinational, regional and domestic corporate houses.

Prior to rejoining Vahura, he was a Joint Partner at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (a leading tax, IP and corporate law firm in India) where he worked closely with the Managing Partner’s office which helped him understand the tax ecosystem in India. At the firm, he led initiatives around international law firm relationships, business development across practice areas, senior level hires, PR & communications and was the key person navigating and leveraging the international law firm networks signed up by the firm. In the past, he has led the legal and compliance recruitment vertical for a domestic search firm and headed the India offices for an international search firm. After graduating from law school, Rishabh started his career as an Associate in the General Corporate and M&A team of Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co where he worked in both New Delhi and Mumbai offices of the firm before moving to the recruitment industry.

Articles

3261 Bulletin

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan, Aditya Bhattacharya The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into potential anti-competitive conduct by a company engaged in the manufacturing and sale of commercial vehicles (Tata Motors)

210

KEY POINTS Even if there is a delay in the filing of information on behalf of the informants, the Act does not envisage any period of limitation as inquiries conducted by CCI are proceedings in rem. There can be no limitation period in competition law as in a changing and evolving market (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan, Aditya Bhattacharya The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint against two regional development authorities and clarifies that a statutory body exercising economic functions cannot be guilty of abuse of dominance for policy-making decisions which apply equally to all market participants (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority / New Okhla Industrial Development Authority)

752

KEY POINTS A statutory body exercising economic functions can not be said to have abused its dominant position in a particular relevant market for any decisions taken as part of the policy-making process, which apply equally to all market participants. BRIEF FACTS Three separate informations (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra The Delhi High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s order directing an investigation into the privacy policy rolled out by a Big Tech company (WhatsApp)

373

KEY POINTS Mere pendency of some issues before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”), or any of the High Courts does not necessarily bar CCI from exercising jurisdiction otherwise vested with it under the Act. BRIEF FACTS Whatsapp LLC (“WhatsApp”) is the proprietor of the popular (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan, Aditya Bhattacharya The Indian Competition Authority dismisses antitrust complaint against a paint manufacturer because simply filing a criminal complaint against its competitor is not considered abuse of dominance (Asian Paints)

201

KEY POINTS Filing a criminal complaint against another enterprise in the same sector cannot be said to have been done with a view to oust competition from the relevant market in the absence of any additional evidence to indicate contraventions of Section 3 and/or 4 of the Act. BRIEF FACTS (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan, Aditya Bhattacharya The Indian Competition Authority dismisses complaints against the State of Tamil Nadu’s road department on an alleged anticompetitive tender process because sufficient bids were received and the procurement process was found to benefit both the procurer and the public (Trichy Superintendent Engineer of Highways Department)

319

KEY POINTS The consumer, based on his requirements / commercial considerations, has the freedom to specify and choose the kind of service, machineries, timelines, mode, and the manner in which it requires the same, provided that no provision of the Act is violated. The public procurement (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan, Aditya Bhattacharya The Indian Competition Authority finds an abuse of dominance in the market for wholesale procurement of branded alcoholic beverages within the State of Uttarakhand (International Spirits and Wines Association of India / Uttarakhand Agricultural Produce Marketing Board)

202

KEY POINTS Cutting off supply/distribution of particular brands, thereby allowing market access to only a dominant entity leads to abuse of its dominant position by such entity. An effective push to competition happens when the efficiency of slower-moving products is enhanced such that a (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority initiates an investigation into a Big Tech company’s new privacy policy and user agreement that does not let users opt out (WhatsApp)

52

KEY POINTS CCI is empowered to initiate an investigation into any conduct which may contravene the provisions of the Act if the CCI knows that such conduct is about to be committed. The CCI is obligated to prevent practices from having an adverse effect on competition. BRIEF FACTS CCI (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of cartelization within a professional association in the corrugated box manufacturing industry (Gujarat Paper Mills Association / Indian Corrugated Case Manufacturers’ Association)

30

KEY POINTS A no presumption of appreciable adverse effect on competition (“AAEC”) cannot arise without first establishing the existence of an agreement in terms of the provisions Act. BRIEF FACTS An information was filed before CCI by the Gujarat Paper Mills Associations (“GPMA / Informant”), (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority finds evidence of and imposes a fine for bid-rigging by three sewing machine suppliers in public procurement for Picofall-cum-Sewing Machines (Klassy Computers / Nayan Agencies / Jawahar Brothers)

38

KEY POINTS (i) Although CCI and the DG have the powers to investigate the representatives of the tenderer/procurer to understand and ascertain the tender design, tendering mechanism including the eligibility of the bidders in terms of tender conditions by requisitioning the relevant records. (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief, ordering online travel agencies to re-list hotel properties on certain platforms (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)

47

KEY POINTS (i) In deciding applications for interim relief under Section 33 of the Act, CCI must form a higher degree of satisfaction than the prima facie requirements under Section 26(1) of the Act. (ii) Denial of market access need not be complete or absolute in nature to result in an (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority fines a national publishing association for restricting its members’ maximum discounts and participation in procurement advertisements (Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India)

36

KEY POINTS The practice of restricting the maximum discount and issuing advisories for members to not participate in certain procurement advertisements amounts to anti-competitive conduct, especially if coercive action is taken by the governing body to ensure adherence by its members. BRIEF (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority orders closure of an investigation into the alleged cartelization in the airlines industry because the observed price parallelism was not proven to have occurred through cartelization (Jet Airways / Indigo / Spice Jet / Go Air / Air India)

39

KEY POINTS Mere price parallelism does not amount to cartelization, if: (i) the market prices have fluctuated, at times with significant margins, (ii) new players are easily able to establish themselves; (iii) all players offer more or less similar kinds of services, and (iv) the prices depend (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority finds upon further investigation no evidence of bid-rigging in tenders submitted to the Government Department of Printing for the services of printing, packing and dispatch of confidential documents (Chandraprabhu / Saraswati Offset Printers / United India Tradex)

36

KEY POINTS (i) The mere fact that participants to a tender have common directors/shareholders is not sufficient evidence to return a finding that the parties are engaging in bid-rigging. (ii) Commercial transactions between related parties, such as sale/purchase of goods and loan exchanges, (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance by a Delhi based mall developer for absence of dominance in the relevant market (Buildwell / Classic Care Utilities)

32

KEY POINTS An inquiry into whether certain practices by a firm amount to abuse is not required to be undertaken when the concerned firm does not hold a dominant position in the relevant market by virtue of there being other prominent firms within the relevant market that provide the same (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against a Big Tech company for integrating a video calling app into its email app, because email users were not forced to use the video app (Google Meet)

52

KEY POINTS Merely adding more functionality to an internet-based app in the name of product improvement and enhancing benefit to consumers would not amount to leveraging dominance if the users are not compelled to utilize the new features to the exclusion of all other services offering similar (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of cartelization and abuse of dominance by a provider of home loan services (ICICI Bank)

37

KEY POINTS Existence of large number of players in the home loan market shows that ICICI Bank (“ICICI”) cannot operate independently in the market and, hence cannot be considered to be in a position of dominance in the relevant market. In the absence of any evidence indicating an agreement or (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance by a reinsurance company as its client insurance companies retain the freedom to decide their premium rates as well as their reinsurer under national law (Automotive Tyres Manufacturers Association / General Insurance Corporation of India)

49

KEY POINTS The markets for insurance and reinsurance exist as separate markets and insurance companies have the commercial freedom to price their policies as they deem fit according to the market conditions and decisions taken in the reinsurance market do not place any restriction on insurance (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority holds that the national statutory body in charge of carrying out regulatory functions in respect of the legal profession as well as legal education is not an ‘enterprise’ within the definition of the competition law (Bar Council of India)

39

KEY POINTS An entity falls within the definition of the term ‘enterprise’ only if it is engaged in any economic and commercial activity specified within Section 2 (h) of the Act. BRIEF FACTS An information was filed before CCI alleging contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act by (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority conditionally approves a merger between fashion retailers (Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail / Flipkart Investments)

48

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. (“ABFRL / Target”) is a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956. ABFRL is engaged in the business of manufacturing and retailing branded apparels, footwear and accessories, through its retail stores, multi-brand outlets, departmental (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority approves a merger between a healthcare company and a hospital network as the merger is unlikely to raise anticompetitive concerns (Manipal Health Enterprises / Columbia Asia Hospitals)

33

Manipal Health Enterprises Private Ltd. (“MHEPL / Acquirer”) is part of the Manipal Educational and Medical Group which operates a network of hospitals providing multi-speciality care. Manipal Group has 15 hospitals spread across 7 cities in India under the brand name ‘Manipal Hospitals’. Outside (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority approves a merger between two power generation companies as the proposed combination is unlikely to cause any competition concerns (Greenko Energy Holdings / Orix)

39

Greenko Energy Holdings (“GEH / Party No. 1”) is a company limited by shares incorporated in Mauritius, engaged principally in the business activity of investment holding. It is the holding company of the Greenko Group of Companies (“Greenko”). GEH has an Indian subsidiary which is primarily (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation into allegations of abuse of dominance by a Big Tech company in the Android app store market (Google)

65

KEY POINTS Even in cases where an information is filed anonymously before the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”), it is within the powers of the Director General (“DG”) to cross-examine the informant; Googles’ market position in the android app market provides it with a significant market (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Supreme Court dismisses the Competition Authority’s special leave petition against the Karnataka High Court’s stay on investigations against two online shopping platforms for alleged anticompetitive conduct in the mobile phone market (Amazon / Flipkart)

41

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on October 26, 2020 rejected the CCI’s challenge to the Karnataka HC’s stay on the investigations directed by the CCI against Amazon and Flipkart. In January, 2020, the CCI has ordered investigation into allegation of, inter alia, exclusive arrangements, (...)

Neelambera Sandeepan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation into two major e-commerce platforms for alleged vertical agreements in the sale of smartphones (Amazon / Cloudtail India)

188

Looking into the alleged violation of Competition Act based on four alleged practices, namely, exclusive launch of mobile phones, preferred sellers on the marketplaces, deep discounting and preferential listing/promotion of private labels, being followed by two major e-commerce platforms, the (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance allegations against a Big Tech company for entering into exclusive agreements due to the company not being dominant in the market for online fashion retailing (Lifestyle Equities / Amazon)

48

KEY POINTS Anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance issues against e-commerce platforms ought to be analyzed individually in respect of each product on a case-by-case basis. In the absence of dominance, issues of sale of counterfeit products on an e-commerce platform do not raise (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses an allegation of abuse of dominance resulting from the termination of a dealership agreement by a manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters due to lack of dominance (India Yamaha Motor)

32

KEY POINTS An alleged illegal termination of a dealership agreement by a manufacturer who does not command a dominant position does not attract the abuse of dominant position provisions of the Competition Act. BRIEF FACTS Vijay Chaudhary (“Dealer”) was an authorised dealer of India Yamaha (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance allegations against a retirement home company due to lack of dominance, but notes the parties may direct their grievances to sectoral regulators (Ashiana Housing)

35

KEY POINTS Within the real estate sector, different categories of residential properties are not necessarily substitutable and therefore form separate relevant markets. Further, certain industrial practices though not within the realm of the CCI may require regulatory intervention. BRIEF (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority finds no dominance and therefore dismisses a case against a public transport company for alleged abuse of dominance in the parking services sector (Delhi Metro Rail)

29

KEY POINTS A government-owned corporation is an enterprise within the meaning of the Competition Act if it engaged in economic activity and can be investigated for violation of provisions of the Competition Act. BRIEF FACTS Dhiraj Gupta, a sole proprietor secured the license for parking (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of anticompetitive conduct and abuse of dominance against an information technology company in public procurement by the Ministry of Railways due to lack of evidence (Sowil / Hexagon Geosystems India)

43

KEY POINTS In the absence of any material on record which can suggest collusion, no case of anti-competitive agreement can be made out. In addition, for a case of abuse of dominance, one must take into consideration the market structure and the number of major players including, global players (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance claims against two online platforms and clarifies that bundling products is not necessarily tying so long as consumers can choose to not use the bundled products (Harshita Chawla / WhatsApp / Facebook)

33

Key Points The mere fact that a case has been filed by an aggrieved party under the Act, does not take away its character of being a case in rem involving a larger question of fair and competitive markets. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that the informant need not necessarily be an (...)

L. Badri Narayanan, Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra The Indian Competition Authority refuses to penalize railway companies for bid-rigging due to economic downturn caused by COVID-19 (Chief Materials Manager, South Eastern Railway / Hindustan Composites)

44

KEY POINTS While the CCI found sufficient evidence to hold that there existed a contravention of Section 3(3) of the Act, given the economic downturn due to the pandemic faced by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in India, and other public interest considerations, the CCI imposed no (...)

Charanya Lakshmikumaran, Neelambera Sandeepan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Rishabh Chopra, L. Badri Narayanan The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance claims against an online food ordering platform due to proof that the platform actually tried to resolve price disparities between itself and physical locations of its partners whenever it received a complaint (Swiggy)

37

KEY POINTS Swiggy does not select or modify the rates charged by its partner restaurants and therefore, any discrepancy in the rates is solely attributable to the partner restaurants. BRIEF FACTS An Information was filed under Section 19(1)(a) of the Act, alleging that the popular app-based (...)

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