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Supreme Court puts on hold Rs 24,713 crore Future-Reliance deal

The Future-Reliance deal

The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) from passing the final order on Future Group’s Rs 24,713 crore sale of retail assets to Reliance until it hears the objections from Amazon.com Inc.

The court was hearing a petition filed by e-commerce giant Amazon to maintain the status quo on the Future-Reliance deal till various legal issues relating to the matter were finally decided. Amazon has accused the Future Group of violating an earlier agreement with it, which does not allow the sale of assets to Reliance.

A bench of justice RF Nariman and justice BR Gavai issued the interim order, stating the NCLT  will not sanction the scheme even if the meetings of the creditors and shareholders of the Future groups takes place. The top court has also issued notices to Future Retail Ltd, its chairperson Kishore Biyani and others and sought their replies.

While issuing notice, the bench said that the reply to the appeal of Amazon must be filed in three weeks and rejoinder after two weeks thereafter and the US company’s appeal will be listed for hearing after five weeks. Amazon had in January approached Delhi High Court seeking enforcement of the interim order of the Emergency Arbitrator (EA) at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) that had restrained FRL from going ahead with the deal with Reliance.

On February 8, a division bench of the high court led by Chief Justice DN Patel had stayed a single judge’s direction of February 2 putting a temporary freeze on the deal between Future Retail and Reliance. The order came on Future Group’s appeal seeking a stay of the February 2 order where the firm claimed that due to the status quo position, the proceedings before NCLT for approving the amalgamation scheme were held up.

Indian stock exchanges and the antitrust watchdog have already cleared the deal, which now awaits clearance by the NCLT.