Amazon trying to illegally enter India’s physical retail market via Future deal: CAIT to NCLAT

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) E-commerce giant Amazon is trying to illegally enter India’s physical retail market via its deal with the Future Group companies, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in its appeal to NCLAT.
The case pertains to an appeal against the CCI order which had kept the earlier approval given for the Amazon-Future Group deal in abeyance.
“CAIT believes that in view of the fraud played by Amazon, the CCI ought to have revoked the order and not kept it in abeyance,” the confederation said.
“CAIT’s appeal was listed along with the two appeals filed by Amazon and the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation,” it added.
CAIT’s appeal, which was heard on Friday, emphasised that “Amazon’s entire transaction with the Future Group companies is based on the intention to illegally enter the physical retail market, take over retail stores owned by Future Retail, and cut out the micro, small and medium enterprises and retail traders, a majority of which is represented by CAIT”.
Besides, CAIT’s counsel said that “this (transaction) would be a direct threat to the numerous retail traders who would not be able to compete with such a large-scale e-commerce business model like Amazon’s”.
The CAIT said that FDI laws prohibit retail trading, in any form, by e-commerce entities like Amazon, which are invested in multi-brand retail trade.
“Amazon did not obtain any government approval as required by FDI laws for its foreign direct investment into the multi-brand retail market. When the CCI specifically enquired with Amazon of any prohibitions under the FDI laws, Amazon said that since it was investing in FCPL and not FRL, no approvals were required from the government and the FDI laws were not attracted.
“It is now evident that Amazon sought to acquire strategic rights in FRL through the back door, by misrepresenting facts to the CCI and concealing the true nature of the transaction. Therefore, the approval obtained by Amazon before CCI did not disclose this FDI violation and is tainted by fraud and misrepresentation.”

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