Chemicals of Bombs used in Pulwama Attack were Sourced via Amazon: CAIT

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The sale of marijuana on the Amazon e-commerce portal is not a new and first offence of Amazon, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement.

Earlier in 2019, the chemicals for making the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used in the Pulwama terror attack resulting in the death of 40 CRPF soldiers were also purchased via the e-commerce portal added.

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The NIA, during the investigation of the Pulwama case, revealed this fact in its report in March 2020, the news also widely appeared in the media in March 2020. Besides other materials, ammonium nitrate, a contraband item in India, was also purchased through the portal.

CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that as per reports available in the public domain during initial interrogation by the NIA, the person arrested disclosed that he used his Amazon online shopping account to procure chemicals for making IEDs, batteries and other accessories. The explosives used in the attack were determined through a forensic probe to be ammonium nitrate, nitro-glycerin etc.

CAIT said since the facilitation of the sale of contraband item Ammonium Nitrate was used against our soldiers, a case of treason should be registered against Amazon and its officials. However, the result of the lukewarm attitude of the policymakers and officials is allowing e-commerce portals to do whatever they like, the CAIT statement said.

It is also most surprising how this sensational matter was made dead, and no further actions were taken to sell contraband items.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that ammonium nitrate was declared a banned item in 2011, for which a notification was issued listing the dangerous grades of ammonium nitrate under the Explosives Act, 1884 and denying its open sale, purchase and manufacture in India. Ammonium nitrate was the primary explosive in the bombs used to trigger the explosions in busy and crowded areas. Before Mumbai, ammonium nitrate was used in the blasts at Varanasi and Malegaon in 2006 and the serial blasts in Delhi in 2008.

The CAIT from 2016 is demanding a codified law and rules for e-commerce, but unfortunately, no step has been taken so far, which speaks to the sorry state of affairs, what worse can be than the procurement of chemicals used for making bombs? Targeting our great soldiers. Therefore, this case must be re-opened, and responsible persons managing the Amazon portal should be prosecuted as per the law, CAIT said.

Ammonium nitrate is a crystal-like white solid which is made in large industrial quantities. Its most extensive use is nitrogen for fertiliser, but it is also used to create explosives for mining. If the fire reaches it, the chemical reaction will be much more intense. When ammonium nitrate explodes, it can release toxic gases, including nitrogen oxides and ammonia gas, which could be dangerous to the people living around.

Bhartia and Khandelwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their immediate direct intervention. It has also encouraged Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to immediately release e-commerce rules, e-commerce policy and new press notes replacing Press Note no 2 of the FDI policy.

The CAIT has urged the Union Government to conduct an intensive and thorough probe into the business model of big e-commerce players to ensure that no sale of prohibited items or anti- nation activities is undertaken on e-commerce portals and liability should be fixed on the marketplace to do strict KYC of the seller and using artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology allow the sale of goods or providing services only which are lawful.