Amazon India's local executives in Madhya Pradesh, India, have been summoned by the state police for the investigative purposes regarding a case where the company was allegedly used to smuggle marijuana, Reuters reported on Monday, 15 November.
The state police had arrested two men in Madhya Pradesh with 20 kg of marijuana and interrogation revealed that Amazon's India website was being used for interstate deliveries.
Dry stevia leaves, which function as a natural food sweetener, were used as a disguise to hide the marijuana.
What Has the Police Said?
Bhind SP Manoj Kumar Singh informed that the drug supplying company was being tracked by the police for the last several days. While making the delivery on Saturday, 13 November, the smuggler was arrested. The dhaba owner who bought marijuana had also been arrested by the police.
Singh said, “An example of how the platform selling goods online can be misused was seen."
"The police in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh not only made a sensational disclosure of online marijuana smuggling, but also succeeded in arresting two accused,", Singh added.
Earlier, in the Bhind cyber cell, ASP Kamlesh Kumar Kharpuse, had received information that a youth was selling marijuana.
After raiding the warehouse with the help of a police dog, about one quintal of marijuana was caught.
Singh stated, “After this the police started searching for its supply chain. Cyber cell in-charge Shivpratap Singh, Amayan police station in-charge Deependra Singh Yadav and Gohad police station in-charge Omprakash Mishra were entrusted with the responsibility of tracing the ganja supply chain.”
The police further informed that one Suraj alias Kallu Pawaiya, a resident of Gwalior, along with his maternal uncle's son, created a fake company by the name of Babu Tex Company in Pune, copying the name from an established company in Ahmedabad. The company was then registered as a seller on Amazon, selling curry leaves.
Singh asks that since Babu Tax Company is from Surat and is registered in the textile category, how were the curry leaves being sold by it?
Further, it has been inquired from Amazon how a company registered under the same name, was not investigated by Amazon.
Around 1,000 kg of marijuana sales have happened so far using similar strategies, worth $148,000, according to the police statement.
The Amazon executives who have been summoned, have been asked to explain how any of this was made possible.
An Amazon spokesperson said its own investigation regarding non-compliance by a seller had begun.
“We do not allow the listing and sale of products which are prohibited under law to be sold in India,” the statement added.
(With inputs from Reuters.)