Kaushal Kumar Sharma
KK Sharma Law Offices
Competition Law
Chairman
4th Floor, Sishan House, 119, Shahpur Jat, new Delhi 110049
Contact
globalhq@kkslawoffices.com
+91 11 41081137, 49053075
vCard
Main Practice Area

Competition Law

Education

An alumnus of King’s College, London for his PG Diploma and Masters in Competition Law Economics, presently Mr. Sharma is a PhD fellow from Bangor University, UK. A qualified Lawyer and Post Graduate in Economics, he did Masters in Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. Having undergone various refresher, in-service, courses from a wide array of institutions , including Maxwell Institute of Public Policy, Syracuse University, USA, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie and National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur, Mr. Sharma did PG Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Laws from National Law School University (NLSU), Bangalore.

Biography

Mr. KK Sharma, the first Director General (DG) of functional Competition Commission of India (CCI) & its first Head of Merger Control and Antitrust Divisions, has  the  unique distinction of drafting the competition law and regulations for India and overseeing their enforcement thereafter. For this reason, he is often called ‘Father of Indian Competition Law’. Mr. Sharma has investigated landmark cases of competition law violations in diverse sectors. 

Hailed as the architect of ‘Merger Review Format’ for India, he also oversaw the very first merger reviews in the country. He has a comprehensive experience, of nearly three decades, in various Government departments and public bodies, including direct tax administration, the CCI as well as the private sector. A regular speaker at national and international conferences on competition law and other topics, he is an active member of International Competition Network (ICN) Merger Working Group. 

One of the handful nominated individuals to the Research Project Partnership (RPP) Platform of Competition Law and Policy Branch (CLB) of UNCTAD, Mr. Sharma , considered one of the eminent experts of the world on competition law, travels across the globe as an author, speaker and consultant to address various national and international conferences. He has written two books on competition law – one by LexisNexis and other by Thomson Reuters. 

Practice Areas

The other areas being dealt by the firm include Tax, Enforcement & Investigation- be it either Serious Fraud Investigation Office or Enforcement Directorate or Anti Corruption Law, Commercial Law, India Business Entry, Arbitration, Drafting of Agreements, Litigation and Transfer Pricing.

Firm

Within a short period, new benchmarks of commitment to the assignments, sincerity of purpose and honesty towards the clients have catapulted KK Sharma Law Offices (‘Firm’) to a position where succeeding, in even the most difficult and challenging assignments before it, is routine. While successfully defending its clients, against the allegations of competition law violations by over-zealous competitors, the Firm got huge penalties imposed on erring enterprises for the violations of law. Amongst numerous examples, for violations against its clients, in separate instances, a penalty of USD 12.4 Million, on a global automobile giant for anti- competitive conduct in India and, an almost similar penalty, on a real estate major, having global footprints, were imposed.

When a prominent port regulator, on the east coast of India, was, practically, being held hostage because of the entire operations having come to a grinding halt, by way of physical blockade of the port and many vessels waiting to be unloaded, despite an earlier order being against the port agents causing blockade and its previous multiple petitions making no headway, the Chairman of the port was rightly advised to dial the Firm in what was almost a distress call. Despite the entire ecosystem, apparently, being hostile against the port regulator, an order penalising the persons, involved in the blockade of the port, was obtained.

Similarly, for the biggest corporation of the country, dealing in the critical aspect of food stability in the country, when the obvious cartelisation amongst its critical supplies could not arouse the sympathy of the regulator, despite the documentary evidence of cartelisation, having been laid before its door step, coming to the Firm was a natural choice.

It’s a matter of record that extremely high imminent penalties have been spared on its enterprise clients who rushed to the Firm, in the nick of time. This faith in the Firm was always reciprocated with the sterling performance by the Firm in all these matters. In this sequence, a near full reduction of penalty by an amount of USD 96 Million, on a group of public sector insurance giants, despite documentary evidence against them being on record and admitted in the earlier part of the proceedings, would certainly rank as one of the most satisfying moments for the Firm. Similarly, when a Trans National Corporation (TNC), specialising in manufacturing of label printing machinery and having presence in more than 90 countries, was staring at a potential penalty of nearly USD 43 Million, it was the Firm, to which it leaned for support. The Firm ensured that no penalty was finally imposed for any violation.

Not just stepping in while being accused of infringement of law but the Firm also guides the enterprises in making a ‘do it yourself ‘kit or Corporate Compliance Manuals for them so as to help the enterprises avoid getting caught in competition law log jam and manage their affairs in such a way that they are not victims of regulatory cross fire because of not having taken some basic precautions while focussing on business. It also assists the enterprises in having a competition law compliance culture and drafting Competition Law Compliance Manual. It is of great  help at the time of unlikely event of being considered for  imposition of penalty more so because it is one of the positive factors , being accepted as a part of ‘mitigating circumstances’ in favour of an enterprise , being considered for imposition of any fine for any antitrust violations.

The Founder of the Firm having himself laid down the competition law investigation framework in the country, as the very first Director General(DG) of the functional Competition Commission of India(CCI), guiding the client enterprises, in the deft navigation of the investigation progress before the DG, comes naturally to the Firm. It ensures that, later, when the DG report is completed and forwarded to the CCI, the chances of imposition of penalty are nipped in the bud as the enterprises are gently guided out of the harm’s path even while being subjected to investigation before DG. This involves not just overall guidance in the strategy of investigation but also constant hand holding in oral testimony, actual recording of the oral interviews and post interview follow up.

Despite having been advised otherwise, either on the necessity of making a filing of combination notice or a merger filing or its proper navigation, the opinion of the Firm has saved many an enterprise, involved in the process of acquiring another enterprise or either merging or amalgamating into another, from either colossal fines or an imminent looming blocking of the transaction. The founder of the Firm, having devised the Indian Merger Review Format and done the very first merger reviews in India does give an edge to the Firm in successfully dealing with such matters.

Other areas where the firm has been operating are Enforcement & Investigation- either Serious Fraud Investigation Office or Enforcement Directorate or Commercial Law, India Business Entry, Arbitration, Drafting of Agreements, Litigation and Transfer Pricing, IPR Laws and, in some cases, even high stake criminal matters, covering nearly all the sectors of the economy. In this direction, the Firm has dealt across sectors such as Automobiles, Power Generation and Transmission, Retail, Real Estate, Shipping Industry, Liquor, Insurance, Ports, Pharmaceuticals, Banking and Finance, Bulk Transportation, Oil and Chemicals, Film Industry, Manufacturing Sector, Future Trading of Agricultural Commodities or Services of VTS Devices and many others. The Firm has dealt with a multitude of cases successfully in all these sectors and more.

Not only in competition law matters but in other matters too, within its practice domain, the Firm is consumed by the fire to deliver quick relief to the client enterprises with minimal disruption in their business. Therefore, it comes as a pleasant surprise when serving of a Legal Notice, drafted by the Firm, is not a prelude to commencement of civil, criminal proceedings and a suit, as is traditionally stated in the Legal Notice and expected, but a lasting peace because of the infringing parties suddenly discovering the eternal truth that the long arm of law in not too far behind. This way, the Firm succeeds in not only being committed to its clients in getting them an early justice but also proving the old adage that the

“ Best wars are won without firing a single bullet!” .

The Firm is frequently invited to contribute India specific chapters on different laws by different reputed publications – International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG) and Global Competition Review (GCR) being amongst them. By consistency in client satisfaction, the Firm has achieved a position of prominence among its peers and can look back with pride at the track record of its past body of work.

Quite frequently, the firm is the preferred choice for second opinions even by the enterprises which, for various reasons of commercial expediency and international affiliations, are availing the services of other top law firms. This is especially true on competition law matters where subsequent and second or third opinion is almost certain to be sought from the Firm by various clients.

The firm delivers value to clients and has handled global assignments, the first one being an international capacity building training program, for Turkish Government, across continents and institutions, which was completed to the utmost satisfaction of the client.

Having the advantage of the founder of the Firm, Mr. Sharma having been on both sides - as an enforcer and, later, as a practitioner - the firm has not only brought successful action for competition law violations against global giants but also ensured that frivolous allegations of violations of competition law did not  harm its clients.

The firm is consistently rated as one among the pioneers in the field of competition law and has been covered in various publications from time to time. The latest coverage having been in the Global Legal Experts wherein Mr. Sharma, Chairman holds the position of Merger Control Expert in India for second year running. The earlier coverages were in Experts’ Guides 2014 and 2018 and SILICON Magazine of December 2014.

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