Madhya Pradesh Police unearths marijuana sales through Amazon. CAIT demands thorough probe by NCB

MP police busted an interstate drug peddling gang, using Amazon website for moving over one tonne of marijuana from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to three states

MP police busted an interstate drug peddling gang, using Amazon website for moving over one tonne of marijuana from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to three states
MP police busted an interstate drug peddling gang, using Amazon website for moving over one tonne of marijuana from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to three states

Online marijuana smuggling racket busted in Madhya Pradesh, Amazon under police scanner

In a shocking development, Madhya Pradesh Police on Sunday unearthed a drug peddling syndicate that was using Amazon’s e-commerce website to sell marijuana. The police team busted an interstate drug peddling gang that was using Amazon e-commerce website for moving more than 1000 kg of marijuana from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to three states. Two Bhind residents Suraj Pawaiya and Vijendra Singh Tomar were arrested with 20 kg of marijuana from a roadside eatery at Gohad, said Manoj Kumar Singh, the Bhind district police chief. “These two accused are part of a drug-peddling gang which has a network across the nation. Police are trying to nab the other four identified and six unidentified accused,” Singh said.

“A company registered in 2007 as an Ahmedabad-based textile firm, Babu Tex Private Limited, which used to sell marijuana as stevia dry leaves. Acting on a tip-off, police raided a Dhaba in Gohad of Bhind and recovered packaging material of Amazon e-commercial company and two air tickets from Visakhapatnam to Delhi,” said Singh.[1]

Police officers said that during interrogation, Pawaiya revealed that they used to send marijuana from Visakhapatnam to agents at Bhind, Agra, Delhi, Gwalior, and Kota. “The supply used to be suspended most of the time and would resume when it was bought by the agents. On the site, the price of 2 Kg leaves was shown as Rs.180, and the payment used to be done online,” said Om Prakash Mishra, in-charge, Gohad police station. The investigators said that over one tonne of marijuana, estimated to be worth Rs.1.1 crores, had already been transported through the e-commerce site.

Police also wrote to Amazon asking them to explain if there was any method of verifying the sellers because it could be conveniently misused for illegal trade. “If any person from the verification team is found involved, we will book that person too,” said Singh.

Reacting to the bizarre incident, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) demanded a thorough probe from the Central Government, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and other agencies on the activities of Amazon in India. CAIT said that Amazon is getting 66% commission from marijuana-kind illegal sales.

“It is most shocking media news for the traders & the people of India that Marijuana worth more than 1 crore of rupees was sold through Amazon e-commerce portal and in turn, Amazon got 66 percent commission. This sensational revelation was uncovered by the Madhya Pradesh police. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) while demanding immediate action of the Central Government also demanded that Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) should take action against Amazon since it acted as seller, collected money, posted on their website, earned commission, and did much more than what has been alleged to be done by Aaryan Khan,” said CAIT.

CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that before registering a seller, Amazon ought to have done KYC to know about the genuineness and creditability of the seller. Further, Amazon ought not to have allowed the sale of illegal items like marijuana. Further, we are at loss to understand why a technology giant does not use its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to identify the sale of illegal items while they continue to use these technologies to identify and copy the products of poor MSMEs and Indian manufactures for creating their own private label products.

“Government and law enforcement agencies including NCB need to take immediate action and initiate criminal proceedings against Amazon and its top management for this illegality. If marijuana can be sold through their portal then they would be encouraged to trade in the illegal supply of arms or other anti-national activists and money laundering. Amazon had been claiming to be an intermediary under the Information Technology Act and therefore had been seeking the benefit of safe harbor provisions. However, by allowing any seller to sell a banned/ illegal item like marijuana, accepting payments, facilitating and assuring delivery, and consequently earning profits in the form of sales commission, they cannot be called an e-commerce intermediary by any stretch of the imagination,” said CAIT leaders.


[1] MP police bust drug peddling gang using e-commerce site to supply marijuana – Nov 14, 2021, HT

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