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Amazon is bringing us to our knees, we’re broke: Future Retail to SC

The Future Retail counsel on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that his client is broke and Amazon has driven the firm to its knees after Amazon’s counsel submitted that talks between the parties to settle legal disputes have failed and Reliance is taking over Future’s shops.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Future Retail, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that nothing has been transferred and the rent for the shops has not been paid for over two years. “We had no money, which is what we’ve been telling all forums. Landlords are terminating our leases,” said Salve.

He also said that Amazon was bringing them to their knees and they were broke.

Salve’s response came following submissions from senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing Amazon, that Reliance is taking over Future Retail stores, despite the highest court direction that no assets will be transferred. “It’s been recorded, and during the pendency, the orders have been flouted…,” said Subramanium.

At the outset, Amazon counsel informed the top court that efforts at resolving a long-running dispute between his client and Future Retail, have failed. “The efforts did not work and the conversation is over. Nothing is happening,” said Subramanium.

The counsel for both parties agreed on resuming arbitration proceedings at the tribunal, which have been put on hold by the Delhi High Court.

Salve added one can talk about the glory and grandeur of things, “but when we’re broke, we’re broke”. He said the shops’ takeover started 15 days ago. “We have no control. Reliance is taking action despite the ongoing litigation. Reliance is taking over. We can’t do anything,” said Salve.

He further added that not one store has been surrendered and Reliance took away the boards as they’re entitled to, all our assets are where they are. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Future Coupons, reiterated “the shops are there! What’s the point of saying it’s been taken over?”

Salve added: “We can’t do anything. What do we do? We haven’t signed anywhere. In fact, Mr. Biyani went and protested.”

Another counsel for Amazon said, “So suddenly they are saying there’s no money so the shops are taken over? Look at the conduct.”

The bench said, “Proceedings are going on and everything is happening. We’re getting a feeling that by adjourning matter, we’re being lenient.” Subramanium said: “Let us go back to the tribunal…80 percent shops surrendered to Reliance.”

After a detailed hearing, the top court allowed Amazon to file an application in the matter and scheduled the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.

The top court was hearing Amazon’s challenge against Delhi High Court’s order to stay further in arbitration proceedings with the Future Group before the Singapore Arbitration Tribunal.

Future Retail Ltd (FRL) entered into a Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail to sell its business, which has been objected to by the US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.

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