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Amazon back in SC as talks with Future fail

E-commerce platform Amazon on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there were discussions for settlement between Amazon and Future Group but there has been no headway in the mediation proceedings on the assets of Future Retail Ltd (FRL).

   “The conversation is over … Nothing is happening,” Gopal Subramanium, senior lawyer representing Amazon, told the top court on Tuesday. “Meetings and everything have taken place, but no resolution at all.” Talks ended on Saturday without any headway, Future Group’s lawyers told court.

Earlier, lawyers for both parties agreed to discuss talks to find a solution out of court to their 18-month-old case over the Indian company’s plans to sell its retail assets to Reliance Retail. The top court had then halted hearing Amazon’s petition – challenging a Delhi High Court order that stayed the arbitration process – for about two weeks so they could talk.

“The actions have been done in a clandestine manner by playing a fraud on the constitutional court of India, the arbitral tribunal and Indian statutory authorities/agencies,” Amazon alleged in the notice. It also warned that any party assisting or cooperating in such actions would face civil and criminal consequences.

 “The landlords terminated our leases. We have no money to pay them”, said Harish Salve. He added that Reliance went ahead and signed those leases in its favour and then allowed FRL to continue operations through those stores on a “leave and licence” agreement basis. As FRL was unable to pay Rs 1,500-2,000 crore, Reliance terminated the leases and took possession of the stores, he said, adding, “Today, even if we go to a court, they will say deposit the money upfront. We have no money. We are broke.”

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