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Future-Reliance Deal: Supreme Court reserves order on NCLT process

Refusing to pass interim orders to stop banks from declaring Future Retail’s accounts as NPAs, the Supreme Court has reserved its order on whether NCLT proceedings can be permitted for proposed deal between Future Retail and Reliance. The court will also pass orders on whether Future Retail can be given time to arrive at a resolution with its 27 lenders, which have a collective exposure of Rs. 17,000 crores to the company.

Future Retail’s lenders told the top court that while there was no connection between the dues claimed by them and the company’s ongoing case with Amazon, arguing that the contract between the banks and Future Retail involved depositors’ money and was related to public interest. Pointing out that Future Retail’s current exposure of Rs. 17,000 crores of 27 banks will grow to Rs. 25,000 crores if pushed by a year, banks contended that both Amazon and Reliance should bid over Rs. 17,000 crores to ensure that Future Retail’s debt is serviced.

Claiming that banks had already declared or were in process of declaring its accounts as NPAs, Future Retail argued that banks wanted Rs. 9,000 crores to be arranged as soon as possible. Seeking a time of 2 weeks to negotiate on payment terms with banks, Future Retail argued that it will try to arrive at some understanding with the banks during the interim period. Future Retail urged the apex court to ask the Delhi High Court to decide on the maintainability of its arbitration agreement with Amazon in the meantime, claiming that the agreement was invalid since CCI (Competition Commission of India) had already withdrawn its consent which was given to Amazon to invest in the Future Group.

Even as Future Retail sought to resume NCLT proceedings for its proposed deal with Reliance Group, the court asked Amazon about its objections to the same. Amazon opposed initiation of NCLT proceedings, arguing that Future Retail shouldn’t be allowed to proceed after the arbitral tribunal had disallowed the deal. Times Now News

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