Setback for Mukesh Ambani as Delhi High Court rejects Future Group’s appeal in row with Amazon


In a setback to the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Future Group companies seeking a direction to a Singapore-based tribunal in a row with Amazon.

Justice Amit Bansal, who had reserved his order earlier, said on Tuesday said that the petition by the Future Group companies stood dismissed. Justice Bansal said that the order would be made available on the high court’s website soon.

Future Group was being represented by former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi and senior advocate Harish Salve.

Amazon and Future Group have been locked in a bitter legal battle ever since Reliance Industries completed a deal with Future Group companies for Rs 24,713 crore in 2019. Amazon, which had bought 49% stake in Future Group companies in 2019, argued that Kishore Biyani-led company could not sell any of its retail assets to 11 companies including Reliance.

The US e-commerce giant had approached the Singapore International Arbitration Centre against the deal.  The arbitration court ruled in favour of Amazon declaring the deal between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and Kishore Biyani’s Future Group invalid. The arbitration court is likely to award the damages to Amazon this month.

Reacting to the arbitration court’s order in 2020, Reliance Industries had said, “Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) is informed of an interim order passed by the Emergency Arbitrator in the arbitration proceedings invoked by Amazon under a shareholders’ agreement with the promoters of Future Group. RRVL has entered into the transaction for acquisition of assets and business of Future Retail Limited under proper legal advice and the rights and obligations are fully enforceable under Indian Law. RRVL intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay.”

In December, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) revoked its clearance to Amazon allowing it to acquire 49% stake in Future Coupons, a subsidiary of Future Group. Amazon then alleged that the Indian government had unleashed the Enforcement Directorate against the e-commerce giant.

The deal between Reliance and Future Group would have given unparalleled dominance to Mukesh Ambani-led company had the arbitration court not put this on hold. Amazon believes that the Future Group violated the contract by entering into a deal with rival Reliance.