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Amazon officials in MP booked for smuggling ganja

Senior officials including an executive director of Amazon India’s local unit in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind have been booked under narcotics laws on charges of smuggling marijuana via the online retailer.

Reports said Madhya Pradesh police lodged an FIR naming the officials days after summons were issued against them.

The number of officials who have been charged, however, is not clear.

Police have said that 1,000 kg of marijuana worth around ₹1.09 crore has been sold through the Amazon platform allegedly with the help of the officials of the local unit.

A case in this regard was filed under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act due to mismatch between the reply filed by Amazon and the evidence collected by police.

The matter came to light after police arrested two men – Suraj and Bijendra Singh Tomar – who run a dhaba in Madhya Pradesh, and seized 20 kg marijuana from them. Police said the duo had sourced the ganja from Visakhapatnam through Amazon delivery service.

Other reports said that not two, but four people were arrested for selling ganja. They had allegedly sold ganja through a company they registered on Amazon India, police said.

Reports quoting Bhind police officer Manoj Kumar Singh said that this wasn’t the first instance and the duo had been buying drugs via Amazon for the last four months. They had reportedly sourced almost a tonne of ganja in the past four months allegedly through Amazon. The delivery during this period had involved transactions worth ₹1.09 crore, Singh said.

The unnamed Amazon executive director, who has been named in the FIR, had allegedly helped the ‘smugglers’ with logistical support and documents to sell the weed as stevia leaves.

Taking note of the matter, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra has asked Amazon India to cooperate in the case investigation, while warning that non-cooperation would invite action.

Amazon, on its part, has said that it is looking into the matter and that the online shopping platform does not allow listing and sale of products banned under Indian laws.

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson had told the media. 

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