Photo Credit: Reuters
Bhind Police said that its counterpart in Visakhapatnam recovered 48 kilograms of marijuana, allegedly from Amazon workers, in a fresh investigation following the initial recovery of the prohibited drug in the central Madhya Pradesh state. Upon getting a tip from the Bhind Police, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Visakhapatnam found two persons it said were Amazon delivery workers, with marijuana. The state department also recovered Amazon's packaging material that was supposedly used for transporting the drug. The latest development comes just after the Bhind Police supposedly charged Amazon's executives under narcotics laws in case of the alleged marijuana smuggling via the online marketplace.
[Update, November 22, 10pm: Amazon refuted the reports and stated that: “Reports that Amazon executives have been arrested or charged as part of this case are incorrect and we are not aware of any Amazon executives being named in the investigation. On the contrary, Amazon continues to assist with the investigation. There are media reports of third party delivery contractors being investigated, but we cannot confirm these reports.” Amazon's statement is copied in full below.]
On Saturday, the Visakhapatnam Police arrested an alleged Amazon associate, Chilakapati Srinivasa Rao, 48, in the city, along with two of other delivery workers, all of whom were allegedly smuggling marijuana. The accused were found with the drug along with an electronic weighing machine and Amazon's packaging material, the Bhind Police that tipped the ACB department in Visakhapatnam said in a press note released on Monday.
The accused had two gunny bags, each of which had 24 kilograms of marijuana, according to the first information report (FIR) filed by the police, a copy of which is with Gadgets 360.
Separately, the Madhya Pradesh Police has recovered a fresh lot of 17 kilograms of marijuana that it said come from Amazon's associates, for which an FIR has been filed with the Mehgaon Police Station in Madhya Pradesh. Last week, two men were arrested in Bhind for using Amazon to order and smuggle the drug. Executive Directors of Amazon Seller Services — a subsidiary of the US e-commerce giant — were later charged under the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 for the alleged smuggling.
Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded the government to suspend Amazon's operations in the country and arrest its officials for allowing the trade of marijuana. The body has also urged authorities to register a case of treason against the e-commerce company.
CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal called Amazon a “Ganja company.” Ganja is the Hindi name for marijuana.
On Sunday, CAIT also claimed that in 2019, Amazon was used for sourcing chemicals of bombs that resulted in the Pulwama terror attack. It alleged that ammonium nitrate, among other materials, was purchased through the online marketplace to prepare the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for the attack.
Amazon's full statement to Gadgets 360:
“Reports that Amazon executives have been arrested or charged as part of this case are incorrect and we are not aware of any Amazon executives being named in the investigation. On the contrary, Amazon continues to assist with the investigation. There are media reports of third party delivery contractors being investigated, but we cannot confirm these reports.
Amazon, as a matter of company policy, extends full cooperation to law enforcement agencies in the event of any bad actor operating on the Amazon.in marketplace. We have shared, and will continue to share information that law enforcement needs in their investigation of this case. Amazon has zero-tolerance for misconduct and takes strict action against individuals or third-parties for violation of our policies or applicable laws. Amazon.in is a third-party marketplace (intermediary) where sellers offer their products to customers directly. Contractually, sellers operating on the Amazon.in marketplace, as well as delivery partners, service providers and their associates, are required to comply with all applicable laws.”