Home >Companies >News >Amazon to Delhi HC: Enforce arbitration order, jail Biyani Inc on Monday filed a petition in the Delhi high court, seeking imprisonment of Future group promoters, including founder Kishore Biyani, for allegedly violating securities market rules by illegally encumbering group company shares.

According to the petition, a copy of which was reviewed by Mint, Amazon has also sought the enforcement of an emergency arbitration order of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The Singapore court in October ordered an interim stay on Future Group’s 24,713 crore deal to sell its retail assets to Reliance Industries. A single-judge bench of the Delhi high court had later allowed the deal to go through, subject to regulatory approvals.

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Amazon’s petition has come days after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) gave conditional approval to Future Group for amalgamation of six Future Group firms as part of the plan to sell assets to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd and Reliance Fashion and Lifestyle. Future Group announced the deal to sell all its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses to Reliance Industries’ two subsidiaries on 29 August to repay debt.

In its petition, Amazon alleged that Future Group had obtained financing from the Mukesh Ambani group in violation of the SIAC ruling. “In addition, the petitioner (Amazon) verily believes that the respondents (Future Group and promoters) continue to encumber their shares in FRL (Future Retail Ltd) and allow invocation of pledges on their shares in FRL, in direct contravention of the directions issued by the emergency arbitrator (of SIAC)," Amazon said. In a related development on Monday, SIAC extended its interim stay order on Future-Reliance deal till further modification.

Amazon alleged that the promoters of FRL deliberately acted with an intention to induce regulators into granting permissions in breach of the SIAC interim order. “In light of the above, the necessary consequence of the wilful disobedience by the majority respondents entails attachment of property and detention in civil prison of respondent numbers 3-11 (the Biyanis and other promoters), as well as directors of FCPL (Future Coupons Pvt. Ltd), FRL," Amazon said in its petition.

Spokespeople for Future Group, Reliance Industries and Amazon India didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

“If the court doesn’t grant relief as per its petition, Amazon said the Future Group will proceed with the deal as they have publicly declared and repeatedly sought. This will vitiate the petitioner’s entire investment in FCPL, which is not compensable in monetary term and it would cause irreparable loss and injury to the petitioner," said the Amazon petition.

Following a 49% stake sale to Amazon in August 2019, FCPL, on 19 December that year issued a letter to Future Retail Ltd setting out the list of restricted persons with whom Future Group could not forge an alliance. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries was one of the names in this list.

Amazon has also asked the court to issue an injunction against Future Group, restraining the latter from relying on any no-objection letter by any authority and from issuing securities of FRL or obtaining any financing from Mukesh Ambani group or any other restricted party listed in the 19 December 2019 letter by FCPL to FRL.

On 25 October, SIAC passed an emergency arbitration award in favour of Amazon, restraining Future Group from taking any step related to the RIL-Future deal.

On 7 November, FRL filed a suit against Amazon, stating that the latter is interfering in the RIL-Future deal and the court should stop Amazon from doing so. On 21 December, the Delhi high court upheld the SIAC ruling and declined Future’s plea to stop Amazon from approaching regulators to bar the RIL-Future deal.

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