New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded the arrest of Amazon officials in connection with the seizure of 720 kg of marijuana by the Madhya Pradesh Police earlier this month.
In a statement issued Sunday, CAIT alleged discriminatory treatment by authorities in drug-trafficking cases registered under the NDPS Act. The traders’ body drew comparisons with the Aryan Khan case and said the authorities should show similar promptness in the Madhya Pradesh case as well. It called upon Union Home Minister Amit Shah to look into the issue, since NDPS laws empower central government agencies to coordinate with state governments and authorities.
On 14 November, Madhya Pradesh police registered a case under the NDPS Act after it seized marijuana in Bhind district. The prohibited substance was supplied through the e-commerce portal.
Amazon is yet to publicly comment on the issue, but had in a previous statement said it was investigating whether there was any non-compliance by a seller.
Following the leads in this case, the Andhra Pradesh Police recovered 48 kg ganja at Visakhapatnam and arrested three people who sold marijuana across the country through Amazon.
Though the case registered in Bhind under Section 38 of the NDPS Act names the Amazon company for facilitating the supply, CAIT said, the police have not yet arrested anyone employed with the e-portal.
“It speaks of the sorry state of affairs for a sensational and critical matter related to drug trafficking,” read the body’s statement.
CAIT national president B.C. Bhartia pointed out the alleged “discrimination” by police agencies. He said while the NCB “did not waste time” in arresting Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan on the basis of a WhatsApp chat, in the case against Amazon, the police have made no arrests despite naming company officials.
CAIT’s secretary general Praveen Khandelwal added that the NDPS law empowers the investigating agency to arrest a person without a warrant, if any person produces, possesses, sells, purchases, warehouses, transports, imports or exports a prohibited substance to and from one state to another.
Non-action on the part of state police clearly shows discriminatory treatment between the citizens, he said. “Instead of arresting the Amazon officials, the MP Police preferred to give them notice and waited for Amazon to reply. Under the NDPS Act, there is no provision of any notice. There can not be two different treatments under the law as the Constitution of India guarantees right to equality,” added Khandelwal.
Amazon’s response to the notice further indicates defiance of the rules meant for e-portals, CAIT claimed.
‘Ample reflection of Amazon’s involvement’
The CAIT statement claimed that in its reply filed to the MP Police, Amazon said there are six companies enrolled as sellers who are selling marijuana under the guise of Stevia Dry Leaves.
This is “ample reflection” of Amazon’s involvement since it is obligatory for an e-commerce portal to do mandatory KYC of the sellers, it alleged.
Bhartia and Khandelwal lauded the Enforcement Directorate’s recent move to issue summons to Amazon on the basis of the findings by the Delhi High Court and urged the agency to look into the “violation of PMLA” (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) by Amazon while carrying out sale of marijuana on their e-commerce portal.
(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)