Providing relief to e-commerce giant Amazon, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked Future Retail Ltd to maintain status quo on its Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance Retail.
The single-judge bench of Justice J R Midha was hearing Amazon's plea seeking enforcement of an emergency award passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), restraining Future Group from selling its retail assets to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
"Respondents (FRL) are directed to maintain status quo as on today at 4:49 PM till pronouncement of the reserved order," the court said.
On Monday, the court had asked both the parties if they were ready to resolve issues, and said that the proceedings in the case would continue as scheduled. The court had said that the matter can be referred to two retired judges of the Supreme Court if both parties agree to resolve their issues.
In its ugly legal spat with Future Group, Amazon had asked the court to detain the Group's founder Kishore Biyani in a civil prison, along with other directors of the Group for "deliberately" not following the arbitration court's order.
In August 2019, Amazon had bought a 49 per cent stake in one of Future Group's unlisted companies - Future Coupons Ltd (FCL) - along with the right to acquire the listed flagship FRL after a few years, if the Centre were to revoke its ban on foreign ownership of multi-brand retailers.
Future Retail ran into a severe cash crunch after the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb coronavirus outbreak. To stay afloat, it cut a deal with RIL to sell assets for Rs 24,713 crore. However, Amazon objected to this deal and moved to court against it.