New Delhi [India], November 15 (ANI): Madhya Police have busted an alleged racket of the sale of marijuana through e-commerce portal Amazon and arrested two accused, police said.
An accused named Kalu was arrested after a raid in the Bhind district of the state, police said.
Bhind SP Manoj Kumar Singh said, "Marijuana consignments of two kilograms were being smuggled via Amazon from Visakhapatnam to Madhya Pradesh and other places. An accused named Kalu has been arrested from Bhind. His partner Mukesh has also been taken into custody from Haridwar. The accused has said that one tonne of marijuana has been smuggled in the past four months. Amazon has been informed and details of a Gujarat-based textile company named Babu Tex have been sought, which was involved in the sale of drugs."
In this connection, Secretary-General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Praveen Khandelwal on Monday urged the Centre to take action against the e-commerce portal Amazon after a racket of marijuana sale through the portal was busted in Bhind city of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.
"Madhya Pradesh Police busted a racket of selling marijuana through the online portal Amazon. We thank the Madhya Pradesh Police and media for bringing this racket in front of everyone. We have requested the centre to involve the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in this issue and arrest the officials running this portal in the country. This should be treated as a serious issue. The officials running the portal cannot escape their responsibility," Khandelwal told a press conference.
Khandelwal also urged MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to prevent the suppression of the case and ensure that there is no pressure on police.
Providing more information about the racket he added, "The marijuana was being sold under the garb of 'Kaddhi Patta'. When the police raided an Amazon warehouse in Gwalior, it was found that 390 packets of marijuana were sold from there. Three people involved in the sale were arrested by the police."
Khandelwal said that a delegation of CAIT had visited the state today regarding the incident.
The CAIT Secretary-General also said that the confederation had been raising the issue that e-commerce websites like Amazon have been indulging in illegal practices for years like predatory pricing and exclusive inventory.
"Amazon has been violating Indian laws for a long time, especially since 2016. Now this time, marijuana was being sold through the portal," he added.
Citing a media report, he raised questions over Amazon's status as an intermediary.
"Amazon always gives excuses that it is an intermediary. But in a media report, it was revealed that 1 crore 10 lakh worth of marijuana is sold and Amazon took a commission of 66 per cent from it. If you have taken commission, you cannot apply for the intermediary status. Also, the government has a provision that before approving someone as a seller from your portal, you perform their KYC and check all the information provided by them before your approval," he said.
Khandelwal said that on Wednesday, the confederation will stage dharnas at 1,000 locations across India urging the centre to take cognisance of the issue and take action against Amazon.
"Our demands are within the law. What if illegal firearms are sold in future in these ways?" he added.
Following the developments, Amazon India said in a statement that the portal does not allow the sale and purchase of products illegal in India and assured their full support and co-operation to the investigating and law enforcement authorities.
"Amazon operates a marketplace in India (amazon.in), which enables third-party sellers to display, list and offer for sale, products to end-customers directly. Amazon has a high bar on compliance and contractually our sellers are required to comply with all applicable laws for selling their products on amazon.in. We do not allow the listing and sale of products which are prohibited under law to be sold in India. However, in case sellers list such products, as an intermediary, we take strict action as may be required under the law, when the same is highlighted to us. The issue was notified to us and we are currently investigating it whether there is any non-compliance on part of the seller. We assure full co-operation and support required to Investigating Authorities and Law Enforcement agencies with ongoing investigations and ensure full compliance to applicable laws," the Amazon India spokesperson said in a statement. (ANI)