Traders' body CAIT on Wednesday accused e-commerce major Amazon of violating FDI policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) norms, a charge which the multinational company denied. The traders' body in a letter to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal alleged that the online retailer has not sought the government's approval for conducting multi-brand retail activities in India and demanded action and imposition of maximum penalty against the company.
"Documents available in the public domain show that Amazon has made an investment of about Rs 35,000 crore in Amazon India, a make-believe e-commerce marketplace platform, but in reality (it is) indirectly carrying multi-brand retail business," Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal told reporters. Denying the allegations, an Amazon spokesperson said: "As a responsible investor and a long-term player in India, Amazon complies with FDI laws and seeks regulatory approvals including from the Competition Commission of India. Our investment in Future and all investments in India are in compliance with applicable regulations." CAIT alleged that Amazon has investment "of about Rs 4,200 crore in More Retail Limited (a multi-brand retail company); on the face of it looks like it is controlled by an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) of Samara Capital, and has investment of about Rs 1,430 crore in Future Coupons Private Limited, a controlling investment in Future Retail Limited (a multi-brand retail company)".
The traders' body alleged that all these investments were in violation of FEMA Rules and Regulations, and urged the government to take immediate action. CAIT in its letter to Goyal demanded that "ED (Enforcement Directorate) must take strict action against Amazon for its brazen violations including imposition of maximum penalties against them".
Khandelwal said he has called a meeting of trade leaders from across the country on Friday via video conferencing on the issue. Traders may be compelled to take to the streets to agitate if no action is taken against Amazon immediately and CAIT will not shy away from approaching the courts if needed on the issue, he added.