“We will hear it on March 23 and pass on some orders. Meanwhile, you (Future Retail Ltd and Future Coupons Private Ltd) submit the answer,” the bank told senior attorneys Gopal Subramanium and Ranjit Kumar who appeared before the US e-commerce firm.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Futures group to file its response to an interim plea from US e-commerce giant Amazon to resume arbitration over Future Retail’s merger agreement with Reliance Retail and an instruction to preserve the to safeguard FRL’s assets.

A bank made up of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Judges AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli was told by Amazon that it not only wanted a resumption of arbitration proceedings, but wanted an injunction so that the FRL’s assets would be there for him if it wins in the arbitration if the “apple cart are upset”.

“We will hear it on March 23 and pass on some orders. Meanwhile, you (Future Retail Ltd and Future Coupons Private Ltd) submit the answer,” the bank told senior attorneys Gopal Subramanium and Ranjit Kumar who appeared before the US e-commerce firm.

Initially, the bank said that if Amazon urgently wanted some interim injunctions, it could go to the Delhi High Court or ask for an exemption from the arbitral tribunal when the arbitration proceeding resumes. “I will wait for this court,” Subramanium said.

Leading lawyers Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared before FRL and FCPL respectively, said they agreed to resume arbitration proceedings. “I agreed yesterday. We don’t need to be heard any further,” Salve said.

Amazon’s counsel said he wanted some interim protection over FRL’s assets in addition to resuming arbitration proceedings.

“I am seeking some interim protection during the pending arbitration proceedings, given the current circumstances…Applecart is now upset. That is why we say that pending the arbitration procedure, these assets should not disappear,” said Subramanium.

He said if Amazon loses, the merger plan will go through and Reliance Retail will get the assets and if it wins, then the assets should be there.

The bank has now placed Amazon’s plea for the March 23 hearing as its first item.

On Tuesday, Amazon had told the bank that talks with the Future Group to resolve the dispute over Future Retail’s merger agreement with Reliance Retail had failed.

Prior to this, on March 3, the highest court granted Amazon’s request and granted 10 days to explore the possibility of resolving the dispute through dialogue with the Future Group.

It is hearing Amazon’s appeal against the January 5 order of the Delhi High Court, which has suspended arbitration proceedings before the arbitral tribunal over Future Retail’s merger agreement with Reliance Retail.

Amazon claimed 600 stores were taken from FRL on March 3, but the fact is that not a single store was surrendered, Salve said. On Feb. 9, the highest court had issued notices to Future Group firms about Amazon’s plea against the high court’s order.

It had solicited comments from Future Group companies FCPL and Future Retail Limited (FRL), saying it would hear the case on February 23 “without any adjournment”.

Amazon and the Future Group are embroiled in a legal battle after the US e-commerce giant took the latter for arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) in October 2020.

The new plea, notified by the highest court, has been filed by the US company that assaulted the Jan. 5 order of a Supreme Court divisional bank, delaying the Amazon-Future arbitration.

The Supreme Court’s division bench had also suspended a Jan. 4 single judge’s order dismissing the Future Group’s two pleas to request the arbitral tribunal to rule on its request to terminate the arbitration proceedings before proceeding. .

The Supreme Court had said there was a prima facie case in favor of FRL and FCPL and that if a stay is not granted, it would cause them an irreparable loss.

Amazon argued that FRL had breached their contract by entering into a deal to sell its assets to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail at a low sales base of Rs 24,500 crore.

In December last year, the Competition Commission of India suspended its more than two-year-old approval for Amazon’s deal to acquire a 49 percent stake in FCPL and FRL promoter, and also imposed a fine of Rs 202 crore on the e-major trade.

Amazon has objected to the sale plans, accusing the Future Group of violating the 2019 investment pact.
Founded in 2008, Future Coupons is engaged in the marketing and distribution of gift cards, loyalty cards and other rewards programs for corporate customers.


This post SC seeks response from Future to Amazon’s plea to resume arbitration and FRL assets was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/sc-seeks-futures-response-on-amazons-plea-on-resumption-of-arbitration-frl-assets/2463222/”

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