Cadbury India probed over R213-cr tax evasion charge

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 23 2012, 06:39am hrs
Tax authorities have detected alleged tax evasion of Rs 213 crore by the Indian arm of confectionery multinational Cadbury, now owned by Kraft Foods, in two separate cases and have realised Rs 12.6 crore in one of the cases, minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam said on Thursday in the Rajya Sabha.

Two cases of tax evasion by Cadbury India Ltd have been detected by the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence during the years 2009-10 to 2012-13 up to October 31, 2012, the minister said in reply to a question in the Upper House.

The minister said investigation was progressing in the alleged R200-crore central excise duty evasion by Cadbury India at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. Cadbury India said the company was fully cooperating with authorities. The company said since the probe was under way, it would be inappropriate on its part to discuss details at this juncture.

In the other case involving alleged service tax evasion of R13.43 crore, a demand of R11.75 crore was confirmed along with a penalty of equal amount. A sum of R12.08 crore tax with R0.53 crore interest was already realised, the minister said.

Cadbury is also facing another probe by the authorities to decide whether Kraft needed to pay taxes arising from its $19-billion takeover of Cadbury.

In reply to a separate question, Palanimanickam said authorities have examined actor Saif Ali Khan in connection with the ownership of an imported Toyota Land Cruiser for appropriate action, under the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The government said in August that during its drive against unaccounted money, it had unearthed massive amounts of undisclosed income and mispricing of goods and services in multinationals' transactions with their Indian arms in the last three financial years.

Authorities detected undisclosed income of over R32,000 crore in the last three years through search, seizures and surveys and seized undisclosed assets valued at over R2,600 crore, officials then claimed.

Cadbury, which started business in the country in 1948 by importing chocolates, has its manufacturing units at Thane, Induri (Pune), Malanpur (Gwalior), Bangalore, Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) and Hyderabad. The company has a market share of over 70% in the chocolate category by value.