Amazon, in its fresh SLP, is likely to be heard next week, said that the HC issued its directions without appreciating that the CAIT’s PIL was filed “with ulterior motives to interfere in a private transaction,” involving Amazon, with which the trade body had no connection.
Even as the Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing in the Amazon-Future Retail legal battle till December 8, the e-commerce firm said it has filed a special leave petition (SLP) challenging the Delhi High Court’s order that directed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to decide within two weeks a Confederation of All India Traders’ (CAIT) plea, seeking revocation of approval granted to the Amazon-Future Group deal in 2019.
Amazon said that the CAIT’s plea “is an attempt to open up another front, apparently at the behest of the Future Group to agitate the same allegations which have been rejected” last month by the arbitral tribunal, which found that Amazon disclosed all the necessary information to the CCI, and there was no inconsistency between its representations to the CCI and the representations in the arbitral proceedings, the appeal stated. Amazon, in its fresh SLP, is likely to be heard next week, said that the HC issued its directions without appreciating that the CAIT’s PIL was filed “with ulterior motives to interfere in a private transaction,” involving Amazon, with which the trade body had no connection. These directions were also passed without even hearing the e-commerce firm and without making it a party in the case, the appeal stated.
According to Amazon, the claims by CAIT were earlier made by Future Coupons (FCPL) and Future Retail (FRL) before the Emergency Arbitrator which rejected them in its interim award of October 25, 2020. Even the arbitral tribunal had categorically rejected these allegations of misrepresentation and inconsistency in its partial award given on October 21, this year, it said. “The arbitral tribunal found inter alia that Amazon disclosed all the necessary information to the CCI and there was no inconsistency between its representations to the CCI and the representations in the arbitral proceedings. FCPL and FRL having failed twice before the tribunal,” the petition stated.
However, a bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana refused to entertain another similar application filed by Amazon against the HC’s November 16 order, saying it will not express any views on the case as it arises out of a PIL and is a “separate case,” and can not be heard as part of the ongoing legal battle where Amazon is challenging the Future group’s Rs 24,713-crore merger deal with Reliance Retail. The CAIT had moved the HC demanding the annulment of the CCI’s approval that was granted to Amazon in 2019 and wanted protection of its 6,000 traders who had supplied goods worth Rs 10,000 crore to the Future Group. The anti-trust watchdog was scheduled to hear the case on January 4, but the HC had reduced the time period to two weeks.
Earlier, FRL’s independent directors in a letter to the stock exchange had said that Amazon had violated of foreign exchange rules by making false representations to the CCI to seek approval for its investment in Future Coupons, a promoter holding company. It also asked CCI to revoke the approval it had given to Amazon-Future Coupons (FCPL) deal in November 2019.
Meanwhile, the employees of Future Retail also moved the apex court on Tuesday urging the SC to let the Future-Reliance deal go through as the interests of nearly 27,000 employees are at stake due to orders passed in the arbitral proceedings. They further said that if Reliance withdrew from the deal, or the scheme is stopped due to any inordinate delay “FRL will be pushed into liquidation, resulting in 27,000 employees losing their livelihoods”.