Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Cadbury tax fraud


Probe into Cadbury India's Rs 200-cr tax evasion case
Investigation is latest of the two cases against the firm
Authorities are investigating the local unit of chocolate maker Cadbury over allegations the company might have evaded as much as Rs 200 crore in taxes, the minister of state for finance said on Thursday, as the country beefs up its efforts to increase revenues to contain a widening fiscal deficit.
"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 31st October, 2012," the minister, S S Palanimanickam, told Parliament in a written reply to questions from lawmakers.
This is the second time in as many years Cadbury has run into trouble with Indian authorities. Last year, an investigation was launched to determine whether Kraft Foods Inc needed to pay taxes arising from its $19 billion takeover of Cadbury. That probe is ongoing.
The latest of the two cases against Cadbury's India unit, controlled by Mondelez International Inc, involves alleged evasion of central excise duty, or factory gate tax at a company facility in Himachal Pradesh.
A spokesman for Cadbury India said the company was "fully cooperating" with authorities. "Since the investigation currently is underway, it will be inappropriate on our part to discuss the details at this time," the spokesman said in an email.
Tax officials were not immediately available for comment. Kraft Foods last month spun off its North American grocery business as Kraft Foods Group. Mondelez International is the name of what remains from Kraft Foods after the spinoff.
Its brands include Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum.

Sandip Ginodia
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