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SC asks if it can pass orders restraining alienation of FRL's assets

ANI | Updated: Apr 02, 2022 11:12 IST

New Delhi [India], April 2 (ANI): The Supreme Court has asked whether it can pass any interim order on a plea of Amazon that Future Retail Ltd's (FRL) assets including Big Bazaar shops not be alienated till the dispute over its merger with Reliance Retail is decided by the arbitral tribunal.
A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said as the landlords of the FRL's shops are not before the court, whether such an order restraining the alienation of assets till the conclusion of arbitration can be passed.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the US-e-commerce Amazon, told the bench that "there cannot be a sudden handover of assets" and claimed that over 800 shops of FRL have been vacated and taken over by Reliance group.
Subramanium said Amazon needed an interim order "against alienation of the assets in favour of any other party and assets must continue to remain with FRL and operate with FRL until the matter is resolved by the arbitral tribunal."
Appearing for FRL, senior advocate Harish Salve said that the company was "hanging by a thread", as only 374 of its stores remained with it after over 830 shops shut down on the lapse of lease due to the non-payment of rent.
"Amazon wanted to destroy us... they have destroyed us," Salve argued while referring to the litigation kicked off by Amazon to block the Rs 27,000-crore asset sale deal between Future Retail and Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.
The apex court was hearing Amazon's plea to restrain Future Retail from alienating its retail assets until arbitration between the American company and the Kishore Biyani-owned group concluded.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for lending banks of Future group, contended that no interim order, which is prejudicial to the interests of the banks, be passed in the matter.
The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on April 4 and by then when Amazon will reply to the submissions of the Future group.
Earlier, Amazon had told the Supreme Court that there were talks for settlement between Amazon and Future Group but there has been no headway in the mediation proceedings on the assets of FRL. It had also said that even as the top court ordered to keep hands off, FRL stores have been taken over by Reliance.
Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC and FRL are embroiled in a legal fight over FRL's Rs 24,713 crore merger deal with Reliance Retail
Amazon has been opposing the Future group's decision to go ahead with the merger deal of FRL with Reliance Retail.
It got the Emergency Award of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in its favour which restrained Future group from going ahead with the merger deal. (ANI)