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Future Group may sink if Reliance deal fails
Future Group tells Supreme Court; Apex reserves verdict in case against Amazon
New Delhi: The Future Group on Tuesday submitted before the Supreme Court that Future Retail Ltd will sink with its 30,000 employees, if it's over Rs 24,000-crore deal with Reliance Retail fails to reach fruition. The Future Group also sought permission from a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana to proceed with the deal to sell its retail assets to Reliance Retail.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Future Retail, submitted that company is in a precious financial situation due to the Covid pandemic, and if its deal with Reliance is obstructed, then 30,000 employees may lose their jobs. He added that his client should be allowed to secure shareholder approval, and seek nod from the CCI and the NCLT. "Let us get to that final stage. Amazon's interests aren't hurt," he argued. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing Amazon, submitted his client has been offering to help the Future Group.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Future Coupons, submitted the assets of the promoters of the Future Group are hypothecated, and if the deal with Reliance fails to go through, then everybody will sink, pointing at thousands of employees. Citing Indian laws, Salve said Amazon cannot give money to his client, as the law does not permit them to invest in multi-brand retail. After a detailed hearing in the matter, the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli reserved the judgment in the matter.
The Future Coupons and Future Retail have moved the top court challenging the Delhi High Court's single bench March 2021 order, directing attachment of assets of Future group companies and its promoters for breach of Emergency Award by Singapore Tribunal. Both sides have so far filed several cases at various forums, which include the apex court, Delhi High Court, and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
In 2020, Amazon invoked arbitration after Future Retail announced its asset sale deal with Reliance Industries Ltd wholly-owned subsidiary, Reliance Retail.
In December last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 202 crore on Amazon and suspended its approval for the e-tailer's deal with Future Coupons, a promoter firm of the group's public listed company Future Retail Ltd, seeking more information. The US e-commerce giant has challenged the CCI order at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).