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The court will continue hearing the submissions made by senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Future Retail. (ANI)
The court will continue hearing the submissions made by senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Future Retail. (ANI)

Don’t need Amazon nod for deal: Future Retail to HC

  • The single-judge bench directed all parties to file their written submissions by the next date of hearing, which is ‪19 November

NEW DELHI: Future Retail Limited (FRL) doesnot need Amazon's consent for its deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, the Indian company said in the Delhi High Court on Thursday. The court was hearing the plea by FRL seeking to restrain the e-commerce major from approaching regulatory bodies against its deal with Reliance.

The single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta directed all parties to file their written submissions by the next date of hearing, which is ‪19 November. The court will continue hearing the submissions made by senior advocate Harish Salve, representing FRL.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for FRL, said the rights which were being claimed by the e-commerce giant was way beyond their actual legal rights.

Salve reiterated his argument from the previous hearing and asserted that the award granted by Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is not binding in nature, as it has not been decided by an Indian court.

“ ... He (Amazon) is interfering with my rights to salvage my company. FRL have not entered any agreement and I (FRL) can prevent him from representing to the world that I need his permission to save myself..." He added.Me as FRL have not entered any such agreement and I can prevent him from representing to the world that I need his permission to save myself. Please stop interfering in my attempts to salvage my company," Salve added.

“Amazon says there is no agreement with Reliance, yet. So what is the problem? It's the transfer to Reliance. He has no rights in FRL...You have no rights in FRL and they are telling the court that it cannot alienate without my consent. This bridge is a bridge in the clouds. Your action is limited to Biyanis, you go after them..." Salve said.

Foreign portfolio investments are passive investments. A portfolio investment can only come under FRL and not FCPL, he said. "If they claim that they have control in FCPL, surely against me they can’t have any such rights. Even if it had come as a portfolio investor. They are permitted as long as they don’t result in transfer of control. What is amazon is trying to persuade is that if amazon says FRL despite having no voting rights to jump then it should jump even if it leads to death." Salve further argued.

“...What Amazon says that without my permission you would not let FRL come out of woods and let it die!"

Amazon on Wednesday had opposed Future Retail Ltd’s (FRL’s) plea before the high court. Amazon had contended that all the parties had agreed to arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the arbitral award passed is valid and legal.

“They contend that FRL isn’t party to FCPL agreement. The arbitrator has looked at that. He notices that all the agreements were forwarded by same legal counsels. Who are the promoters actually? It was being controlled and directed by the Biyanis....Amazon is an investor..law gives me protective rights. Where is the FDI violation in this case?" senior advocate Gopal Subramanium for Amazon had said.

Future Retail contended before the court that the arbitral award was not binding and was just persuasive in nature.

The dispute relates to Future’s sale of its retail, wholesale and warehousing assets to Mukesh Ambani’s RIL for 24,713 crore. Amazon, which owns a 5% indirect stake in Future Retail, had contested the sale in the Singapore court, claiming that its 2019 investment agreement bars Future Group from selling its assets to RIL. The Singapore court had on 25 October restrained Future from selling its assets to RIL.

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