Here’s why Amazon is suing India’s financial investigating agency

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Here’s why Amazon is suing India’s financial investigating agency
BCCL
  • Amazon has filed a writ petition in the Delhi high court against India’s ED.
  • The ecommerce company has accused ED of unnecessarily harassing its employees and overstepping its authority.
  • ED initiated an investigation into the Amazon-Future Coupon deal of 2019.
Amazon has filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court against India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking clarification on the “unnecessary” summons issued to the ecommerce player’s employees.

The Jeff Bezos-led company has highlighted that the investigative agency is summoning multiple executives, which amounts to unnecessary harassment. Besides this, the company also noted that the ED is carrying out the investigation in a manner that is “beyond the scope and power” under India’s foreign exchange laws.

ED had initiated an enquiry last month to find whether Amazon violated Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) while buying 49% stake in Kishore Biyani-led Future Coupon in 2019. The deal had triggered more than two dozen legal cases between Amazon and Future Group.

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Please note, the same deal became the grounds for Amazon to halt Future Retails’ ₹24,715 crore deal with Reliance Retail. The Competition Commission of India (CII), earlier this month, had revoked its clearance to Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future Coupons. Therefore, clearing the way for Reliance to acquire Retail assets of Future Group.

Amazon, in the plea before court, accused the Indian ED of conducting a “fish and roving enquiring” against it. The company has alleged that the investigative agency has sought accounts of privileged legal opinion given to it by its lawyers/law firms in India, a list of former employees in its legal team, and accounts of bank details as well as legal expenses that Amazon has incurred in the last decade.

“ED cannot compel the petitioner number 1 (Amazon) to submit privileged legal advice and legal opinions given by law-firms/advocates and legal counsel of Amazon,” Amazon said in its plea, adding that the ED is seeking information which is not related to the Future Group’s transactions.

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The company has requested the Delhi High Court to pass an interim order, staying all investigations, inquiries, summons or proceedings commenced by the ED.

The plea will be heard before the Delhi High Court bench led by Justice Rekha Palli today, December 23.

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