After a 2019 investigation revealed that the chemicals to make explosive devices used in the Pulwama terror attack were purchased on Amazon India, senior executives of Amazon India have now been charged for allegedly smuggling marijuana through the online retailer.
Earlier this month on 14 November, Madhya Pradesh police had arrested two men in possession of 20 kilograms of marijuana, with investigations revealing they were smuggling the substance as ‘stevia leaves’ on the website.
“It has been reported that Amazon has been facilitating trade of marijuana through its marketplace e-commerce platform which is meant to act only as a bridge between buyer and seller for the sale and purchase of permitted goods/services,” the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement.
“However, from the recent findings of Madhya Pradesh Police, it is clear that the drug rackets being operated on the marketplace platform are not without the knowledge and active involvement of Amazon, but Amazon has been fully involved by storing such narcotics in their warehouses, provided their delivery channels for safe and secure delivery of the drugs to the customers and also taking major share of the sales proceeds (of the order of 66 per cent) as their profit/sales commission.”
Amazon India executive directors have been charged under section 38 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotrophic Substances (NDPS) Act, although police have not disclosed how many executives were charged.
According to Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Amazon officials were not cooperating in the investigation of the case even after giving a warning in the case of selling marijuana online, leading police to register an FIR.
“Online drug trade is a more serious crime than cyber crime and such crime will not be encouraged in the state”, he added in a tweet.
Madhya Pradesh police approximate around 1,000 kgs of marijuana was sold through the Amazon India website. Investigations remain underway.
Earlier in 2019, the chemicals for making the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which were used in the Pulwama terror attack resulting in the death of 40 CRPF soldiers, were also purchased via the e-commerce portal, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said.
The NIA during the investigation of Pulwama case revealed this fact in its report in March 2020, the news also widely appeared in the media in March 2020. Besides other material, ammonium nitrate, a contraband item in India, was also purchased through the portal.
The CAIT has urged the Union Government to conduct an intensive and thorough probe into business model of big e-commerce players to ensure that no sale of prohibited items are conducted on e-commerce portals and liability should be fixed on marketplace to do strict KYC of the seller.
Compiled from various news sources