Cadbury India Private Limited accused of corruption and misrepresentation of facts to avail area-based tax benefits in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. Cadbury India conspired with Central Excise officials and availed excise benefits of about Rs. 241 crores for its manufacturing units of 5 Star and Gems in Himachal Pradesh.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR on Cadbury India Private Limited (now known as Mondelez Foods Private Limited) under Section 420 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. An investigation by the CBI brought to light the conspiracy between Cadbury India and Central Excise officials during the period 2009 and 2011.
CBI has conducted raids at the premises of Cadbury India Ltd in Haryana and Himachal found out that Cadburys “paid bribes, misrepresented facts and manipulated records to fraudulently avail area-based exemption benefits (Central Excise and Income Tax) in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, knowing fully well that they were not entitled to avail area-based tax exemption benefits”. Raids were also conducted at the residential and official premises of officials in the two states.
According to CBI, in 2007, the Cadbury’s had proposed to create a unit (for 5 Star and Gems) in Baddi to avail exemption from excise duty and income tax for additional 10 years. But CBI’s investigation had found out that Cadbury India expanded its existing unit build in 2005 manufacturing Bournvita instead of opening a new manufacturing unit.
In its statement, Mondelez India said, “In 2019, the company settled a potentially protracted litigation through the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 – an amnesty scheme introduced by the Indian government to settle tax litigation. This decision was made in the interest of putting an end to protracted litigation to enable us to focus on what we do best, growing our business in India. We are yet to receive any formal communication in the matter from the authorities.”