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    Distributors urge Bezos not to block Future-RIL deal

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    NEW DELHI: At a time when two of the world’s richest men, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries (RIL) and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are fighting over India’s booming retail industry, local distributors of soaps, shampoos and hair oil have written to Bezos and Amazon’s India head Amit Agarwal not to block the Future Group-RIL deal.
    The Future Group, which has struck a deal with Reliance to sell off its retail, warehousing and logistics business for Rs 24,000 crore, owes Rs 6,000 crore to small vendors and suppliers, alleged the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF).
    “These dues are pending for payment since March 2020,” AICPDF, which represents distributors across India, wrote in an email to Bezos and Agarwal, urging the US e-commerce giant to not block the deal. TOI has reviewed a copy of the email.
    While an email sent to a Future Group spokesperson did not elicit a reply, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Contrary to reports carried in a section of the media, Amazon has consistently offered to assist FRL (Future Retail) during the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 and reiterated our openness for a dialogue even during the Delhi high court hearings, which was declined by Future Group.”
    Amazon, which is locked in a bitter legal battle with the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group over the sale of its assets to RIL, has alleged that the Future Group has violated an agreement that barred it from dealing with RIL.
    While Future Group has refuted the claims, the Supreme Court last month barred the NCLT from passing final orders on the deal on Amazon’s plea.
    “While you continue with your great game of world domination, we have become what is called ‘collateral damage’,” AICPDF said in the email. “Payments of our members are blocked. Our families are in great financial stress and suffering from mental and emotional distress.”
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