Amazon and Future Retail Ltd (FRL) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that they wish to appear before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre in connection with the pending adjudication of arbitration proceedings before it.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said: “It is stated and agreed by both the parties that they wish to appear before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and request that the proceedings, pending adjudication before it, be expedited on the issues agreed upon between them. Towards this purpose, both the parties are directed to file a Joint Memo of Consent Terms by April 5. List these matters on April 6.”
The bench asked both parties to inform it on the next hearing about the developments in the Delhi High Court, which is hearing the Amazon and FRL dispute.
The Chief Justice also objected to bulky documents repeatedly filed by parties in the matter. “Please do not burden us by thrusting heaps of papers,” said the bench.
Last week, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing FRL, told the Supreme Court that nobody wants to do business with it today as Section 7 of the IBC may come any day, and the company owes landlords thousands of crores in rentals, as Amazon could not get Future Retail, it destroyed the company.
Salve submitted that Reliance entered into agreement with the landlords, and Future Retail owes Rs 3,000 crore in rentals. He added that once this goes into Section 7 of IBC, all this will come to an end, and no one wants to do business with it.
Salve said Amazon, for Rs 1,400 crore, destroyed his client’s company. “They could not get Future Retail, they destroyed Future Retail,” he said, adding that Big Bazaar is gone and also all the assets.
“All my accounts are frozen, nobody wants to touch usa..Future Retail cash flow further deteriorated, after states imposed lockdown…. Hanging by a thread,” he said.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing Amazon, said as far as resumption of arbitration is concerned, it appears both parties have found common ground, and they are interested in resumption.
However, he vehemently objected to the sudden handover of Future Retail assets. Citing a prayer in Amazon’s application, Subramanium opposed the alienation of Future Retail assets and added “Can’t be a magical switch… Future Retail shops should continue to remain with it; operated by FRL until matter is resolved by an arbitral tribunal.”
Amazon, in an application, had raised the issue of Future Retail’s shops and assets being taken over by Reliance, besides resumption of arbitration over FRL’s merger deal with Reliance Retail.
Last month, Amazon alleged that 80 per cent of FRL shops have been surrendered to Reliance. Future Retail maintained that no asset has been transferred.