Police charge Amazon.com executives in alleged marijuana smuggling case
Police said they had charged senior executives of Amazon.com's local unit under narcotics laws in a case of alleged marijuana smuggling.
Police said on Saturday they had charged senior executives of Amazon.com's local unit under narcotics laws in a case of alleged marijuana smuggling via the online retailer.
Police in Madhya Pradesh arrested two men with 20 kg of marijuana on Nov. 14 and found they were using the Amazon India website to order and further smuggle the substance in the guise of stevia leaves, a natural sweetener, to other states.
State police said in a statement that executive directors of Amazon India were being named as accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act due to differences in answers in documents provided by the company in response to police questions and facts unearthed by discussion.
Police did not disclose how many executives were charged.
The police, who had previously summoned and spoken to Amazon executives in the case, estimate that about 1,000 kg of marijuana, worth roughly $148,000, was sold via Amazon.
Amazon said in a statement that it does not allow the listing and sale of legally prohibited products, adding that it takes strict action against sellers in case of any contravention.
"The issue was notified to us and we are currently investigating it," Amazon said of the alleged marijuana smuggling.
An authorities have in recent years intensified their efforts to crack down on illicit drugs. Many high-profile Indian actors and TV personalities have been under scrutiny from narcotics officials since last year.
How it happened
(ANI) As per a press release from the police, Suraj and Mukul, two accused in the case had made a fake company named Babu Tex and used the Amazon portal to sell marijuana from Visakhapatnam to various parts of the country.
"In view of similarities between the facts revealed in investigation and answers provided by Amazon via documents, the Executive Directors of Amazon India have been made the accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS)," the release added.
Recently, Madhya Pradesh Police had busted an alleged racket of the sale of marijuana through Amazon and arrested three accused, the police told ANI.
According to the police, the consignment of drugs was being smuggled via Amazon from Visakhapatnam to Madhya Pradesh and other places. Marijuana was being sold in the guise of 'Kaddhi Patta'.
Earlier, when the case was detected, Amazon India said in that the portal does not allow the sale and purchase of products illegal in India and assured their full support and co-operation to the investigating and law enforcement authorities.
The company had said, "Amazon operates a marketplace in India (amazon.in), which enables third-party sellers to display, list and offer for sale, products to end-customers directly. Amazon has a high bar on compliance and contractually our sellers are required to comply with all applicable laws for selling their products on amazon.in. We do not allow the listing and sale of products which are prohibited under law to be sold in India. However, in case sellers list such products, as an intermediary, we take strict action as may be required under the law, when the same is highlighted to us... We assure full co-operation and support required to Investigating Authorities and Law Enforcement agencies with ongoing investigations and ensure full compliance to applicable laws."
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