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Indian police charge Amazon directors over alleged online delivery of marijuana

Dealers were using Amazon website to order and smuggle cannabis in the guise of stevia leaves

Rituparna Chatterjee
Sunday 21 November 2021 10:25 GMT
Amazon paid £492 million directly to the UK taxman last year (PA)
Amazon paid £492 million directly to the UK taxman last year (PA) (PA Wire)

Police in India have charged senior executives of Amazon under its narcotics laws in a case of alleged delivery and smuggling of marijuana through the online retail platform.

The case involves the Bhind town in the central Madhya Pradesh state where police confiscated over 21kg of cannabis, according to reports.

Following the bust, police registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. A native of Gwalior city, was arrested along with a buyer, the online news outlet News18 reported.

According to the police, the two men created a firm and registered themselves with Amazon as vendors to start an online supply business of cannabis to customers from Visakhapatnam. They used the Amazon India website to order and smuggle cannabis in the guise of stevia leaves, a natural sweetener, Reuters reported.

Police said in a statement that executive directors of Amazon India were 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.”

According to reports, about 1,000kg of marijuana, worth roughly $148,000 (£1,10,078) was sold through Amazon.

Amazon said in a statement that it does not allow the listing and sale of legally prohibited products.

“The issue was notified to us and we are currently investigating it,” Amazon said.

India’s anti-narcotics agencies have stepped up their efforts to crack down on drug use. They recently detained the son of one of India’s most popular actors in connection with a drugs bust case on a cruise ship in the western city of Mumbai. Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was granted bail in the case after 25 days.

A special NDPS court in Mumbai had rejected Mr Khan’s bail application for the fourth time on 22 October. Cannabis and its derivatives are banned in India under the NDPS Act of 1985.

(With additional inputs from agencies)

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