Amazon wins as Delhi HC rejects Future Retail’s plea
The Single Judge Bench of Justice JR Midha concluded that Kishore Biyani, Future Retail, Future Coupons and others were responsible in consciously violating the Singapore Arbitrator’s order.
Future Group has taken a blow in the court by Amazon
Thursday marked a big court triumph for Amazon, as the Delhi High Court went ahead to support the Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator’s order which restrained Future Retail from proceeding to sell its business in a Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice JR Midha concluded that Kishore Biyani, Future Retail, Future Coupons and others were responsible in consciously violating the Singapore Arbitrator’s order. The Future group and its directors were ordered by the court to deposit a sum of Rs. 20 lakhs to Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for providing COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens of Below Poverty Line (BPL) category as imposed fine.
The Court went ahead to further support the Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator’s decision to invoke the ‘Group of Company’ doctrine in relation to the Future Group companies. Under the Emergency Award, Future Retail and Future Coupons were barred from acting in accordance with the Board Resolution of August 29, 2020, relating to the transaction with Reliance.
Future Group has been told by the High Court not to take any further measures in relation to the Reliance contract. On the next date of hearing in April, Kishore Biyani and others would have to appear before the High Court to show cause why they should not be held in civil prison for three months for breaching the Emergency Arbitrator's order. In addition, the High Court also directed the filing of an affidavit detailing Biyani’s assets.
It is to be noted that Amazon holds a 49% stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd, which owns a 9.82% stake in Future Retail, this effectively grants Amazon a veto on Future Coupons. According to Amazon, the company would have never invested had it not received assurances from both FRL and FCPL about protection of FRL’s retail assets. It has therefore maintained the record that Future Coupons could not have given its consent to the FRL-Reliance agreement without Amazon’s approval.