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Reliance is accused of “collusion” with Future Retail by Amazon

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Delhi High Court judge hearing a slew of petitions and counterpetitions filed by Amazon and the Future Group against each other to also hear Amazon’s latest request to prevent Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from selling its stores to Reliance Industries.

“What matters is that this interim application be considered,” said a Supreme Court panel led by Chief Justice NV Ramana.

FRL’s senior lawyer, Harish Salve, asked the court not to issue an order and said he would “assist” in getting the case heard in the high court on a priority basis.

He said the Future Group’s and Amazon’s lawyers would file a joint request with Justice C Hari Shankar to have Amazon’s plea on Reliance’s takeover of hundreds of properties where the Future Group operated its stores heard first.

On Tuesday, the matter will be heard by Justice Hari Shankar of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has asked both Amazon and FRL to provide an update on the case’s outcome by Wednesday.

After the Supreme Court asked the Delhi High Court to hear the petitions again and on merit in February, Justice Hari Shankar is hearing the Amazon-Future Group cases on a fast-track basis. Amazon had attempted to have a Singapore-based arbitral tribunal stay the sale of Future Group’s retail assets to Reliance Retail by enforcing the order.

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Meanwhile, Amazon has charged Reliance with “collusion” with FRL in order to transfer 835 FRL stores to Reliance.

“The purported arrangements entered into by FRL with the MDA (Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani) Group constitute a clandestine stratagem to alienate FRL’s retail stores in favour of the MDA Group,” Amazon wrote in a Supreme Court petition filed on Saturday to stop FRL from completing the store transfer process.

Amazon
Amazon

Reliance and FRL did not respond to ET’s request for comment until Monday afternoon, when ET went to press.

The properties of Future Group outlets were taken over by Reliance Projects & Property Management, a unit of Reliance Industries, in February for alleged non-payment of rents for more than a year.

After paying individual landlords for the retailer’s unpaid rentals and transferring the leases to its own name, Reliance Projects allowed the Future Group to operate on a “leave and licence” basis from these locations. Reliance has claimed Rs 4,800 crore in unpaid rents in a letter to FRL.

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