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NCLAT Rejects Amazon’s Plea Against CCI Order, Directs It To Pay Rs 200 Cr Penalty In 45 Days

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday rejected Amazon’s plea challenging the decision of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to suspend the approval for the investment deal between the e-commerce giant and a Future Group company.

The NCLAT has also upheld the Rs 200 crore penalty imposed on Amazon by the fair trade regulator. The NCLAT has directed Amazon to pay the penalty within 45 days. The regulator has imposed a penalty on Amazon for non-disclosure of relevant information on combinations under the Competition Act, 2002.

The case is related to a deal between Amazon and Future Group dating back to 2019. Under the deal, Amazon had agreed to buy a 49 per cent stake in a Future Group firm Future Coupons Private Limited. The case went to the courts and regulators after Amazon opposed Future Retail Ltd’s deal to sell assets to Reliance Retail Limited.

Future Retail Ltd is a publicly listed company which run Big Bazaar. Future Retail Limited is a part of Future Group. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) welcomed the order of the NCLAT order for upholding the penalty of Rs 200 crore imposed by CCI on Amazon.

The NCLAT judgment is a vindication of CAIT’s stand which was consistently highlighted the brazen anti-competitive practices and violations of law by Amazon, including its actions of deep-discounting, B2C e-commernce and the manner in which it has entered the retail trading sector through its acquisitions of More Retail Ltd and Future Retail Ltd, CAIT said in a statement.

The NCLAT pronounced its judgment in the various appeals filed by Amazon, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and others against the order dated 17 December 2021 passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), wherein the CCI held that Amazon had, by deliberate design, made false representations, misstatements and suppressed material information in seeking approval of the combination for its investment in Future Retail Ltd (FRL).

The CCI order also imposed penalties of over Rs. 200 crore on Amazon. In its ruling, NCLAT held that Amazon has in fact suppressed information pertaining to the combination and not disclosed all the material particulars.

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