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Call out transaction between Future, RIL

Arguing against the alleged alienation of its assets by Future Retail Ltd (FRL), senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing Amazon, prayed that the “sham transaction” ought to be called out. E-commerce giant Amazon has alleged that FRL and Reliance colluded to enable the latter to take over hundreds of FRL’s stores despite being aware that a Singapore arbitral tribunal had injuncted the alienation while upholding an emergency award blocking the Rs 27500 crore deal between FRL and RIL.

A single judge of the Delhi HC also held the order was enforceable and yet the transfer of stores had taken place, it alleged. “They (FRL) have now said that 800 stores have been taken over by Reliance,” argued Justice Subramanium. “Under what law has this happened. I feel speechless that I don’t find anyone respecting the injunction….can anyone say that because there is someone called Reliance no courts can pass orders against them…”

He referred to Future group having made a payment to overseas bondholders just days before its leases were taken over by Reliance for alleged non-payment of rent on them. He referred to FRL’s contention that no assets would be alienated until NCLT passed a final order. “They say they have just 330 stores left…..this is all a lie,” the advocate argued, adding, “I am stunned that someone has decided to take over the assets which are the subject matter of arbitration,” referring to Reliance’s takeover of stores.

Sources close to the Future group have refuted the allegations, saying collusion could happen only when all the colluders benefited. In the Future group-Reliance deal, not a single penny would flow to the promoter, but to the banks, and other creditors and vendors. In respect of the stores being taken over, FRL in a note to the stock exchanges said they would try to re-establish the status quo. New Indian Express

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