Panchjanya editor Hitesh Shankar on Monday tweeted an image of the new cover featuing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos under “#Amazon: East India Company 2.0” headline. “Panchjanya means talk of India. Read the next issue — What does Amazon do wrong that it needed to offer a bribe? Why do people consider this giant company a threat to indigenous entrepreneurship, economic freedom & culture?” he tweeted.
Amazon has set up proxy entities, given crores in bribes, says Panchjanya.
Why do people consider this giant company a threat to indigenous entrepreneurship, economic freedom and culture?” Panchjanya editor Hitesh Shankar tweeted with #Vocal_for_Local, a theme PM Modi has espoused to boost locally produced goods as part of his ‘Aatmnirbhar’ campaign.
When the story grabbed the media limelight, Shankar once again tweeted, “The latest issue of Panchjanya is in discussion. The cover story highlights the Amazon business style, which is akin to East India Company.” The weekly refers to allegations that Amazon’s legal representatives bribed Indian officials. “Whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century to capture India, the same is visible in the activities of Amazon,” the article 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 freedoms of Indian citizens.” The Hindutva weekly also hit out at Amazon’s video platform, Prime Videos, saying it has been releasing movies and web series that are against 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 also locked in a legal tussle over the takeover of Future Group and is facing a probe by the Competition Commission of India.
Reports last week said that the US e-commerce giant is investigating bribes allegedly paid by its legal representatives in India, and that it spent Rs 8,546 crore or $1.2 billion in legal expenses for maintaining a presence in the country during 2018-20. “It is time to think where all it is going… the whole system seems to work on bribes and that is not the best of business practices,” the journal quoted unnamed Indian government officials as saying. Significantly, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch has also demanded a probe into the alleged bribery by Amazon. Panchjanya’s attack on Amazon came days after Congress also demanded a probe against it on the same count. This is not the first time Panchjanya has hit out at companies. Earlier, it had attacked Infosys, alleging that the company may be deliberately trying to destabilise the Indian economy.