Amazon-Future Retail case: Delhi HC stays order upholding emergency arbitrator award

On March 18, the court ordered the attachment of the assets of Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), FRL, Kishore Biyani and 10 others promoters.

Updated - March 22, 2021 01:37 pm IST

Published - March 22, 2021 12:44 pm IST - New Delhi:

Shopping carts are parked at the Big Bazaar retail store in Mumbai. File

Shopping carts are parked at the Big Bazaar retail store in Mumbai. File

In a fresh development in the Amazon-Future Retail legal case, the Delhi High Court on Monday stayed its last week’s order upholding an emergency arbitrator award restraining Future Retail Limited (FRL) from going ahead with its assets sale deal with Reliance Retail.

Also read: Delhi HC stays Future on Reliance deal

A Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh stayed the March 18 order of Justice J.R. Midha ordering attachment of the assets of Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), FRL, Kishore Biyani and 10 others promoters.

The Division Bench said Justice Midha’s order will remain stayed till the next date of hearing on April 30. The order came on Future Retail's plea.

On March 18, Justice Midha had ruled that FRL and its promoters, including Mr. Biyani “deliberately and wilfully” violated the order of an emergency arbitrator (EA) restraining FRL from going ahead with its assets sale deal with Reliance Retail.

He had also directed Mr. Biyani and the 10 other promoters to be present before the court on the next date of hearing on April 28. He additionally issued show cause notices to all the promoters “to show cause why they be not detained in civil prison for a term not exceeding three months” for violation of the emergency arbitrator order.

Justice Midha imposed a cost of ₹ 20 lakh on Future Group which will be deposited in Prime Minister's Relief Fund for providing COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens of Below Poverty Line category. He had directed Future Group not to take any further action in violation of the interim order passed by the emergency arbitrator at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre on October 25, 2020.

The ongoing tussle between U.S.-based e-commence giant Amazon and Future Retail has been fiercely fought over different courts.

Amazon, which has 49% stake in FCPL, is seeking enforcement of the EA award on the ground that it invested ₹1,43l crore on FCPL on the clear understanding that FRL would be the sole vehicle for its retail business and its retail assets would not be alienated without it consent and never to a Restricted Person, including Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani Group.

FCPL, which has 9.82% stake in FRL, has objected to the enforcement of the EA award on various ground, including that the EA is not an Arbitrator or Arbitral Tribunal.

FRL had also argued that Reliance was acquiring the retail and wholesale business as also the logistic and warehousing business from the Future Group as going concerns on a slump sale basis for a lumpsum aggregate consideration of ₹24,713 crore.

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