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Amazon joins probe into alleged marijuana sale on its platform

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An online marijuana racket was busted by Bhind police in Madhya Pradesh on November 13, leading to the arrest of two persons and seizure of 20 kg of the contraband, according to an official.

Amazon joins probe into alleged marijuana sale on its platform
E-commerce major Amazon India on November 15 said it is currently investigating an issue, wherein its platform was allegedly used to source marijuana. An online marijuana sale racket was busted by Bhind police in Madhya Pradesh on November 13, leading to the arrest of two persons and seizure of 20 kg of the contraband, according to an official.
The accused were operating the racket through a leading e-commerce firm, which received two-thirds of the profits generated, as per the official. Evidence is being collected to see if it could be prosecuted for providing a platform for such drug transactions, the official added.
The issue was notified to us, and we are currently investigating it. We assure full cooperation and support required to investigating authorities and law enforcement agencies with ongoing investigations to resolve the issue at the earliest, an Amazon spokesperson said. Bhind Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh said on a tip-off, Kallu Pawaiya (30) and a dhaba owner, Brijendra Tomar (35) were arrested from Bhind Gwalior Road on November 11 and recovered 20 kg of marijuana.
"Kallu used to source the marijuana from Vishakhapatnam through a reputed international e-commerce firm to Gwalior, Bhopal, Kota, Agra and other areas of the country. Brijendra helped him in the business," he had said. Kallu has so far sold one tonne of the contraband and transacted business worth Rs 1.1 crore, the SP had said.
"Kallu ran his company under a fake name with PAN and GST number etc. The e-commerce firm got 66.66 percent of profit from the illicit business. We are collecting evidence to prosecute the e-commerce company under Section 29 (part of criminal conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act," Singh had stated.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on November 15 said the marijuana racket incident is a serious offence and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) should also take up the serious issue besides the Madhya Pradesh police. CAIT has also urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan to ensure that the issue should not go into the air. It is a serious threat to the security of the country in view of the fact that likewise even illegal arms or other illegal activities can also be conducted, it added.
CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia said police authorities of Madhya Pradesh should take the strictest action against Amazon under the NDPS Act and IPC, and immediately arrest the persons responsible for the operation and management of Amazon.in in India.
He added that by selling marijuana worth more than Rs 1 crore and earning a commission of 66 percent (i.e. over Rs 66 lakh) through its e-commerce website, Amazon has contravened Section 20(B) of NDPS Act that says anyone who produces, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-state, exports inter-state or uses cannabis, shall be punishable.
In the present case, Amazon has not only allowed the use of its platform for the sale of commercial quantities of banned drugs but has actively participated in the sale and earned a huge profit of 66 per cent of the sale value, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
They demanded that in addition to the people already arrested by Madhya Pradesh police, they must arrest the senior management of Amazon, who has facilitated the use of its platform for the sale of marijuana and hence, acted as a drug peddler.
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