CBI books Cadbury India of Fraud, corruption over Himachal factory license

Cadbury India Private Limited (now known as Mondelez Foods Private Limited) has been accused of corruption by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which has filed a case against the company. The agency has accused Cadbury of corruption and misrepresentation of facts to fraudulently avail area-based tax benefits in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.

According to sources, Cadbury India Ltd conspired with Central Excise officials between 2009-11 and availed excise benefits to the tune of Rs 241 crore for its new unit. The unit, built in Himachal Pradesh’s Baddi region, was reportedly manufacturing 5 Star and Gems chocolate.

Those named as accused are Nirmal Singh, Superintendent, Jaspreet Kaur, Inspector of the Central Excise Department, and 10 others, including Cadbury India.

The investigating agency conducted searches at the premises of the accused in five locations in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh today, and recovered incriminating materials.

The FIR is an outcome of a preliminary enquiry registered by the agency, which showed that the company allegedly “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”, the CBI said.

Cadbury India Ltd had set up a manufacturing unit at the Sandholi village for manufacturing malt-based food (Bournvita). The unit started commercial production from 19 May 2005, the CBI said in the FIR.

The CBI said that it has found details of various payments made to camouflage alleged bribes and commissions to get the work done. The agency also said that the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) had also probed the matter and slapped a fine of Rs 241 crore on the company.

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