The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought e-commerce major Amazon’s response on a plea by Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Limited, alleging that the company was interfering in its deal with Reliance Retail on the basis of an interim order by a Singapore arbitrator, reported PTI.
The single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta issued summons to Amazon, Future Coupons Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Future Group and Reliance Retail Limited on the matter and asked them to file their written statements within 30 days. The court also said that the issue of maintainability of the suit, raised by Amazon, would be kept open, according to PTI.
On October 25, Amazon won an interim order against Reliance Industries’ Rs 24,713 crore deal to buy the retail business of Future Group. The order by a Singapore-based arbitration panel had asked the Future group to put the deal on hold.
Following the development, Amazon had written to the market regulator Securities and Exchanges Board of India, the stock exchanges and the Competition Commission of India, urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator’s interim decision as it was a binding order.
Future Retail had then filed the lawsuit concerned against Amazon.
‘Amazon has no right to interfere: Future Retail’s lawyers
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Future Group promoters Kishore Biyani and others said that “Amazon has no right to interfere with the transaction”, arguing that the deal would eventually go before the National Company Law Tribunal for approval and thus the Singapore court’s order should be ignored, reported Bar and Bench.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for Future Retail, and said that Amazon has no say in the transaction between Future Retail and Reliance.
“Amazon invested in a company called Future Coupons Pvt Ltd. FCPL and Biyani had a shareholders agreement with Future Retail,” Salve submitted. “Amazon is not a part of the agreement. Amazon is not my shareholder.”
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Reliance, also echoed Salve’s arguments, according to Bar and Bench.
“This is a mischief being played. Object is to be a dog in the manger and delay it,” Singhvi said.
Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, contended that the e-commerce company’s shareholder agreements with Future Retail, Future Coupons and the share subscription agreement related to the two were “at the heels of each other”.
The hearing in the case will continue on Wednesday and the court will begin with Subramanian’s arguments.