The e-commerce giant Amazon is under the scanner after the Madhya Pradesh police busted an online marijuana smuggling racket following the arrest of two men in Bhind district. The Madhya Pradesh police have summoned Amazon Inc’s local executives after investigations revealed that around a tonne of ganja worth Rs 1.10 crores was smuggled through Amazon over the past four months.
On Monday, the Bhind district police superintendent, Manoj Kumar Singh, said Amazon executives have been asked to explain how their platform could be used for the sale of banned substances.
According to reports, the multi-crore drug racket was unearthed after Madhya Pradesh police arrested two men with 21 kg of Marijuana worth Rs 2,10,000 on them. The police subsequently found that the accused used Amazon online shopping platform for smuggling the contraband narcotic substance from Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) to Madhya Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh police on November 13 filed an FIR against the two accused- Suraj alias Kallu Pavaiya, a native of Morar in Gwalior, and Pintu alias Bijendra Singh Tomar, who runs a roadside dhaba in Bhind district. The FIr was filed based on a complaint lodged against the duo by Ashish Yadav. The FIR was lodged under the 29 NDPS Act.
The FIR mentions that the accused were found with two air tickets, one of Indigo and the other of Air Asia airlines. They also found two stroller bags with the accused. From the first bag, the police recovered six Amazon parcels, while four Amazon parcels were found in the second bag. When the parcels were opened, it was found that they contained contraband narcotic substances.
The police informed that Pintu use to receive Amazon parcels containing the contraband in his name at his dhaba, from where it was sold in the city and also pushed to other cities like Bhopal and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, to Haridwar in Uttarakhand and Kota in Rajasthan.
Speaking about the case, Bhind district police superintendent Manoj Kumar Singh said that investigations revealed that the accused were using the Amazon website to send parcels of contraband narcotic substances, each weighing 2 kgs from Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) to Madhya Pradesh and other places. In total, in the last four months, the accused smuggled 1-ton ganja (marijuana) through the Amazon platform said SP, Bhind district.
Besides, an aide to the arrested men has been apprehended in Haridwar for questioning based on the duo’s interrogation (Uttarakhand).
Manoj Kumar Singh said that during interrogation Suraj alias Kallu Pavaiya confessed to smuggling approximately 1-ton ganja worth crores through the Amazon platform. The arrested duo’s grilling has also revealed that over 67 per cent of the share of the monetary transactions went to the online shopping major, said the SP.
Answering to query whether Amazon has been named a party in the criminal investigation, SP Bhind said that Amazon has been informed and details of a Gujarat-based company named Babu Tex has been sought from the e-commerce giant.
According to reports, the racket’s kingpin Suraj Pavaiya had registered as a seller of herbal products and Curry Leaves with the Amazon shopping portal using details of a Gujarat-based textile company named Babu Tex and also subsequently got the power to generate barcode from Amazon.
Police officer Singh said his team also visited one of Amazon’s delivery hubs in Gwalior city in Madhya Pradesh as part of the investigation to get details of alleged marijuana delivery consignments.
Responding to the allegations, the Amazon spokesperson has reportedly said “We’re currently investigating 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”.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan to prevent the issue from becoming a political tool.
CAIT National President BC Bhartia stated Madhya Pradesh police should take the strongest possible action against Amazon under the NDPS Act and the IPC, and arrest those responsible for the operation and management of Amazon.in India immediately.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, “Amazon has not only enabled the sale of commercial quantities of forbidden narcotics on its platform but has also actively participated in the sale, earning a significant profit of 66% of the selling value”. The trader’s body has urged strict action against the e-commerce giant.