E-commerce major Amazon has been termed as “East India Company 2.0" by the RSS-linked weekly, Panchjanya, which has also alleged that the firm has paid crores of rupees in bribes for favourable government policies. In its latest edition, which will hit the stands on October 3, Panchjanya has carried a cover story that is highly critical of Amazon.
“Whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century to capture India, the same is visible in the activities of Amazon," the article titled “East India Company 2.0" reads. Claiming that Amazon wants to establish its monopoly in the Indian market, it says, “For doing so, it has started taking initiatives for seizing the economic, political and personal freedom of the Indian citizens." Hitting out at Amazon’s video platform, Prime Video, the article says it has been releasing movies and television series that are against the Indian culture.
It also alleges that Amazon has established many proxy entities and “there are reports that it has distributed crores in bribes for policies in its favour". Amazon is locked in a legal tussle over the takeover of Future Group and is facing a probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
There have been reports that the US e-commerce giant is investigating alleged bribes paid by its legal representatives in India and it spent a staggering Rs 8,546 crore or USD 1.2 billion in legal expenses for maintaining a presence in the country during 2018-20. The main opposition party, Congress, has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the alleged bribery case involving Amazon.
Earlier, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch had also demanded action against e-commerce players like Amazon for circumventing laws detrimental to the interests of traders and indulging in unethical business practices.
This is not the first time Panchjanya has hit out at companies. In an unprecedented attack on IT major Infosys, the RSS-affiliated magazine alleged that the Bengaluru-based company may be deliberately trying to destabilise the Indian economy and accused it of helping ‘Naxals, Leftists and tukde tukde gang’.
In its cover story titled “Saakh Aur Aaghaat” (Reputation and Harm), the weekly alleged that it was not the first time that Infosys had bungled a government project. “The cover story is about a big corporate (Infosys) whose work’s quality is not up to its reputation. This not only hampers the company’s reputation but also causes inconvenience to crores of people…This kind of role and deliveries create dissatisfaction in society. If Infosys is not involved in socially questionable/propaganda funding, it must come out and state the facts,” Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar said.
The Sangh-linked magazine was slammming Infosys for issues surrounding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal and the new Income Tax portal of the government of India. The story alleges that both the portals and their problems vis-à-vis public interface and usage have led to a situation where trust in the government and its tax collecting system has been eroded.
However, the RSS then distanced itself from the controversy, with Sunil Ambekar, all-India publicity in-charge of RSS, saying the role of the IT giant in India’s development was critical. Admitting that there could be issues with the portals developed by the company, Ambekar said the magazine was not the official mouthpiece of the RSS and the views should be considered personal.