New Delhi: The Kishore Biyani led-Future Group has filed a caveat before the Delhi High Court requesting it to be heard if any plea is filed by e-commerce major Amazon over its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Mukesh Ambani-led RIL. Anticipating a move by Amazon, which had got an interim arbitration award in its favour, putting the announced deal on hold, the Future Group firm has moved the Delhi High Court.
“Let no order of any kind be passed of any kind… or any other petition and application, which may be filed by the petitioners/caveatee (Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC) against the respondent/caveator – Future Retail Ltd, without due notice under section 148A of the code of civil procedure,” the Future Group firm stated in its urgent caveat petition.
A caveat is filed by a litigant in high courts and in the Supreme Court to ensure that no adverse order is passed against the party without it being heard. The Future group firm has already served a copy of the caveat petition to Amazon, it said.
“You are requested to give at least 48 hours notice before moving any petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act or any other application against the proposed respondent/caveator,” the Future Group firm said while sending a copy of caveat to Amazon.
Amazon declined to comment on the development.
Singapore International’s Arbitration Centre (SIAC) passed an interim award October 25 in favour of Amazon, with a single-judge bench of VK Rajah barring FRL from taking any step to dispose of or encumber its assets or issuing any securities to secure any funding from a restricted party.
However, Sunday, in a regulatory filing Future Retail Ltd (FRL) said Singapore arbitrator’s interim order against its Rs 24,713 crore deal with RIL is ‘not binding’, any attempt to enforce it will be ‘resisted’.
Questioning the validity of the order, FRL said that order was passed in arbitration proceedings initiated by Amazon by invoking an arbitration clause in a contract to which FRL is not a party.
“The EA Order is not enforceable under the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and is not binding on FRL. Any attempt on the part of Amazon to enforce the EA Order shall be resisted by FRL to the fullest extent available under Indian law. FRL is also in the process of taking appropriate legal action to protect its rights,” the company said.
As per SIAC order, a three-member arbitration panel, with one judge each would be appointed by Future and Amazon – and a third neutral judge would preside, would decide on the issue in 90 days.
Last week Amazon had written to markets regulator Sebi and stock exchanges urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator’s interim judgement.
The Future Group had announced August 29 merging certain companies carrying on the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL), which would be transferred to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), a subsidiary of RIL.
Amazon in August last year acquired a 49 per cent stake in FCPL, the promoter entity which owns a 7.3 per cent interest in FRL that operates more than 1,500 stores across India, including grocery chain ‘Big Bazaar’.