regular-article-logo Thursday, 28 September 2023

Delhi High Court directs CCI to rush ruling on Amazon

The court was hearing a petition by the Confederation of All India Traders seeking to protect around 6,000 traders who had supplied goods to the Future Group

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 17.11.21, 01:40 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo

The Competition Commission of India must expeditiously decide whether Amazon misled them while seeking approval for its 2019 deal with a Future group entity, the Delhi high court said on Tuesday.

The case in the high court was filed by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which said it was protecting the interests of 6,000 traders which had supplied goods to the Future group amounting to Rs 10,000 crore and wants to recover the money from the group.


The CAIT said in a statement it had filed the case before the Delhi high court on Monday and the ruling was made on Tuesday. It said the court has given the CCI two weeks to decide on the matter.

Amazon and Future, India’s second-largest retailer, have been locked in a legal battle since 2021. The e-commerce giant successfully blocked Future’s bid to sell its retail assets to rival Reliance, accusing its partner of breaching some pre-existing agreements.

Future, which denies any wrongdoing and fears liquidation if it fails to sell assets, has been arguing before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that approval for the 2019 Amazon deal should be revoked as the US firm had made misleading representations while seeking approval. Amazon has said it is confident of addressing such regulatory concerns.

A Delhi high court bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said the decision by the CCI be taken in accordance with rules, law and government policy applicable to the facts of the case and adequate opportunity be given to the parties to be heard.

The court said it was not inclined to decide this issue and disposed of the CAIT petition.

The plea said Amazon has obtained the approval of CCI for its investment in FCPL by deceit, fraud, misrepresentation and false representation.

Lawyer for the CAIT told the court it was interested in the matter to help the small traders recover the money from the Future group to prevent and to put an end to the alleged anti-competitive activities of NV Investment Holdings LLC and its group companies operating in India which already have had a disastrous effect on crores of small traders.

Additional solicitor general N. Venkatraman and lawyer Manu Chaturvedi, representing CCI, informed the court that the CCI is contemplating to call Amazon on January 4 for a hearing after which the matter will be decided.

The CAIT has prayed that between the fights of corporate giants, Amazon and the Future group, traders should not be made a scapegoat or suffer any financial loss.

The CAIT said that Amazon’s claim of control over Future Retail through their investment in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) is illegal as no-foreign company is allowed to own or control a multi brand retail company such as FRL.

“Had Amazon declared their intent of such control and relevant fact in their notice to CCI at the time of seeking its approval, CCI would have never allowed such illegal transaction to happen and therefore we are expecting CCI to revoke its approval,” CAIT said in a press statement.

It added that if such misrepresentations are allowed to continue, then every company would misrepresent the facts of transactions just to seek CCI's approval and subsequently carry out a different transaction camouflaged as a transaction approved by CCI.

The petitioner sought court's directions calling for all documents, records, internal notes and other information relating to the subject matter of the petition from the CCI and prayed that the commission be directed to take a decision with respect to the June 4 show cause notice within 10 days in accordance with law and the facts and circumstances of the case.

With inputs from Reuters & PTI

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