Amazon sues ED, alleging ‘harassment’ on the pretext of investigating Future Deal case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been probing Amazon’s $200 million (about Rs 1,510 crore) investment in Future Group for several months. There is an allegation of violation of foreign investment laws in this case. Now Amazon has taken ED to court in this case. A court filing seen by Reuters showed the company is seeking to quash the investigation into one of its 2019 deals. The investment is in the news due to a protracted legal battle. Amazon has used the terms of the deal to accuse Future Group of breaching the contract. Amazon wants to prevent its rival company from buying Future. The sale was negotiated between Future and that company for $3.4 billion (about Rs 25,640 crore).

In a 816-page filing seen by Reuters, Amazon called the investigation a ‘phishing and roving’ investigation. Amazon has said that the ED also sought other information from Amazon which was not related to the Future Group deal.

Amazon, in its filing in the Delhi High Court on December 21, said that in recent weeks, the ED had summoned several Amazon executives, including the India head of Amazon. According to Amazon, the investigation caused her “unnecessary harassment”.

Amazon and ED have not made the details of the investigation public and did not immediately comment on the comments sought in the matter. The next hearing of the case is likely to be held today.

The filing is a new twist in the long-running dispute between Amazon and Future. However, India’s antitrust body last week suspended this 2019 deal, saying that Amazon had hidden information while seeking approval for it. ED investigation is different.

Three commercial agreements signed between Future and Amazon are at the center of the controversy. The Singapore Arbitration Panel is also hearing the dispute. However, Future Group treats these commercial agreements in line with Indian law.

Amazon’s court filing also contained a notice received from the ED on February 19. In this, details of his investments in the future such as copies of agreements, bank account details and other internal communication were sought.

It has also emerged that the ED is conducting a comprehensive investigation. It had also sought details of major vendors on Amazon’s e-commerce website in India.

The notice came after a Reuters investigation in February found that Amazon helped a small number of sellers grow on its Indian platform. Amazon then said that it follows the rules and does not give special treatment to any seller in its marketplace.