Amazon’s fight is against RIL, but Future will go down: Harish Salve

Forum Gandhi | | Updated on: Jan 29, 2021

Harish Salve, senior counsel appearing on behalf of Future Retail Ltd, on Friday said that Amazon’s objections to the deal between Future and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) emerges from its aim to stall Reliance’s expansion in the retail segment.

“Amazon’s main concern is that Reliance shouldn't expand its business in India. It is not about ₹1,400 crore (Amazon’s investment in a Future arm). American companies don't want this competition. It is actually a battle between Amazon and Reliance, but it is this company (Future Retail) that will go down,” Salve said when Justice JR Midha asked Amazon’s counsel to spell out its grievance.

The Divisional Bench of the Delhi High Court is hearing a fresh petition filed by Amazon earlier this month that sought to block the ₹25,000-crore deal in addition to attaching Future Retail’s assets.

Salve, appearing on behalf of the Kishore Biyani-promoted FRL said that the financial condition of Future Retail is so dire because of the pandemic, that “If FRL goes into IBC, this investment (made by Amazon) is a bogey.” Amazon had invested ₹1,410 crore in the gifting arm of the Future group in 2019.

Gopal Subramaniam, senior counsel who is appearing on behalf of Amazon, said that FRL had breached multiple clauses of the agreements with the American online retailer. According to him, Amazon had listed ‘restricted persons and entities’ with whom the company could not do business and Reliance was one of such listed entity. “The transaction (between Future and Reliance) is in favour of a restricted entity. The Emergency Award (by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre) found prima facie breach of that agreement,” Subramanium said.

Salve argued that the main objective of the promoters of Future was to save the company and jobs. “Reliance said they will save all the jobs and business. If this transaction cancels, the company will close. Just because this fat American company wants to make money.”

The court will hear the case next on February 1.

Published on January 29, 2021
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