India police to question Amazon executives in probe over marijuana smuggling

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LUCKNOW, India 15 November (Businesshala) – Police in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have summoned the local authorities of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) as it investigates a case where marijuana was allegedly smuggled in. The e-commerce platform was used for this, a police officer said on Monday.

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Police on Sunday arrested two people in the state with 20 kg of ganja and found that they were using Amazon’s India shopping website to smuggle and order the substance in different states.

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Smugglers used the Amazon India platform to order and deliver the drug, which was listed under the guise of dried stevia leaves, a natural food sweetener. Police in their statement alleged that the Amazon platform was allegedly used so far to sell 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, worth $148,000.

On Monday, Manoj Singh, a senior district police officer, said Amazon officials have been asked to explain how their platform can be used for the sale of banned substances.

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“The international company has the power of artificial intelligence, so this is a big deal happening on their platform,” Singh said. “Amazon is involved in this marijuana delivery on multiple levels – from providing logistics support to delivery.”

“Amazon lawyers will probably visit us tomorrow.”

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that it is investigating whether the seller has not complied.

“We do not permit the listing and sale of products that are prohibited under law to be sold in India,” the statement said. The company will cooperate with the authorities.

The American company in India operates a marketplace website where sellers can list their products and Amazon provides them with logistics and warehousing service.

Police officer Singh said his team also visited one of Amazon’s delivery hubs in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior city to get details of the alleged marijuana delivery consignment.

Indian authorities have intensified their efforts to crack down on illegal drugs in recent years. Several high-profile Indian actors and TV personalities have come under the scanner of drug peddlers since last year.

Reporting by Saurabh Sharma and Abhiroop Roy; Written by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Angus McSwan and Bernadette Baum

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