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Future Retail-Reliance deal: SC to hear Amazon plea against HC verdict; asks NCLT not to pass final order

Future Retail-Reliance deal: SC to hear Amazon plea   against HC verdict; asks NCLT not to pass final order
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday asked the NCLT not to pass the final order on amalgamation of Future Retail Ltd (FRL) with Reliance Retail as it agreed to hear Amazon's plea against the Delhi High Court verdict staying its single judge directive to maintain status quo on the deal.

The US-based e-commerce giant has moved the top court against the order of the high court division bench which paved the way for the Reliance-FRL deal. During the brief hearing, the apex court proposed to pass an order to stay the proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The Future group had moved the tribunal seeking regulatory approvals to the Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Future group, said however that the top court's stay order will prolong the proceedings by the NCLT by at least six weeks.

Recording his submission, the bench said, "In the meantime, the NCLT proceedings will be allowed to go on but will not culminate in any final order of sanction of scheme (on amalgamation of FRL with Reliance)."

A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai issued notices to FRL, Chairperson Kishore Biyani and others and sought their replies to the Amazon plea.

"Issue notice... Counter Affidavit be filed within two weeks. Rejoinder Affidavit, if any, be filed within one week thereafter. List after three weeks," the bench said in its order. The Delhi High Court on February 8 had stayed its single judge direction to FRL and various statutory authorities to maintain status quo on the mega deal. The interim direction was passed on FRL''s appeal challenging the February 2 order of the single judge.

The high court division bench had also declined Amazon''s request to keep its order in abeyance for a week so that it can explore appropriate remedies.In August last year, the Future group had reached an agreement to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance.

Subsequently, Amazon took FRL into an emergency arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) over an alleged breach of contract by the Future

group.

Meanwhile, Future Retail Ltd on Monday said the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) can issue directions to convene meetings of shareholders and creditors of applicant companies, including it, to consider the Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance Retail following an order by the Supreme Court.

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