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India's antitrust body clears Reliance-Future retail deal despite Amazon's objections

MUMBAI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - India’s antitrust body on Friday cleared oil-to-telecom giant Reliance Industries’ bid to buy Future group’s retail assets even as Amazon.com sought to block the potential deal, alleging contractual violations by the latter.

The approval by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a setback for U.S. giant Amazon, which has argued that a 2019 agreement it inked with Future prevented the Indian group from selling its retail assets to certain parties, including Reliance - led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

Amazon - an investor in one of Future’s holding companies - last month won an injunction against the deal from an arbitrator in Singapore.

Amazon has also approached the CCI and the country’s market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), urging them to consider the arbitration order and not approve the deal.

Future Retail, however, said the agreement in question was not with the company, but with the company’s largest shareholder and the arbitration order was not valid in India. It has also taken Amazon to court in an effort to prevent it from sending letters to regulators. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy)

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