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Indian Antitrust Regulator Ordered By Court To Decide On Amazon-Future Dispute In Two Weeks

Indian Antitrust Regulator Ordered By Court To Decide On Amazon-Future Dispute In Two Weeks
The antitrust body of India has been given a time period of two weeks by an Indian court to ascertain if authorities were misled by Amazon while it sought regulatory approval for a deal with India's Future Group in 2019, said reports quoting a body of Indian retailers.
The case that drew the court ruling was filed at Delhi High Court on Monday by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the organization said in a statement.
Since last year, a legal battle has been ongoing between Amazon and the second largest retailer of India, the Future Group. An effort by Future to divest its retail assets to rival Reliance for $3.4 billion has already been successfully prevented by Amazon. In a court case, the e-retailing giant had accused Future, its partner, of breaching some of the agreements that they had for the selloff.
The allegations against it have been refuted by Future and the retailer is concerned about the possibility of liquidation if it is unable to sell the assets. In its argument before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has said that the regulator should revoke the approval for the 2019 Amazon deal since the American retailer had misled the authorities while it sought approval for the deal.
It is confident of addressing such regulatory concerns, Amazon has said.
There should be no delay by the antitrust body to decide on the issue, the CAIT said, and has said such a decision has a direct bearing on public interest and could impact their businesses in the eventuality of a failure of the Future-Reliance deal.
A decision about dealing with the Amazon and Future dispute within two weeks should be made by the CCI, a  two-judge bench of the country reportedly said according to the statement issued by the retailer group, which also added that "traders should not be made a scapegoat or suffer any financial loss."
There were no comments on the issue available from the CCI and Amazon.
Amazon’s agreement of investing $200 million in Future Coupons, a unit of Future Group, in 2019, is at the core of the legal tussle between the two companies
Outright revoking of a deal by the CCI would be unprecedented even if misleading claims were made, said reports quoting sources familiar with the case, and added that the ongoing dispute could be impacted by any decision taken by the regulatory body.
"If there's no (2019) transaction, there's no dispute between Amazon, Future," a report quoted one of the sources as saying,
According to reports that had been published in July, a complaint from Future was under consideration by the CCI, which has later blamed Amazon for not disclosing facts while the e-retailer sought approval to invest in a Future Group unit in 2019, following comparison by the regulator of legal disclosure documents made by Amazon at several forums.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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