Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Future Retail Limited (FRL) told the Delhi high court that Amazon’s interference with its lawful business will lead to a massive loss of jobs and Kishore Biyani-led Future Group may go bankrupt.
The high court had earlier sought responses from Amazon on a plea by Future Retail Ltd alleging that the e-commerce major was interfering in its INR 24,713 Cr deal with Reliance Retail on the basis of an interim order by a Singapore arbitrator.
The matter is being heard by Justice Mukta Gupta who had issued summons to Amazon, Future Coupons Ltd (FCL) and Reliance Retail Ltd (RRL) on the FRL suit and asked them to file their written statements within 30 days.
“This whole concept of minority rights being protected is nonsense. Thousands may lose jobs, FRL may go bankrupt but this great American giant (Amazon) should not be upset,” said Salve, according to Bar & Bench. “In today’s day and age, to say that I will kill a 25K crore company. God knows if Amazon still thinks that it’s living during the time of the East India Company.”
The Future Group and Amazon have been locked in a battle after the US-based company took FRL into an emergency arbitration over an alleged breach of contract.
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on October 25 passed an interim order in favour of Amazon 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.
“Compare the figures invested by Amazon and what Reliance is offering. What is the amount needed to rescue FRL,” Salve told the court on Thursday. “Amazon says there is no agreement with Reliance yet. So what is the problem? It’s the transfer to Reliance.”
Salve said in his argument that the SIAC order has no relevance in law and the company is well within its rights to ignore it.
“I am subject to Indian courts. If a gentleman sitting in Singapore says something, I can bin that order. It is not to show any disrespect. I’m saying as a matter of law,” said Salve.
He further claimed that the Singapore Arbitrator was not accustomed to the Indian ecosystem and fell for the 10% portfolio investment.
Salve in his arguments reiterated that Amazon is not even a minority shareholder and there is no question on how rights can be conferred upon it.
“Amazon is not a shareholder in FRL. How can (it) complain,” asked Salve.