Cadbury India Limited has come under the scanner of financial intelligence sleuths for alleged excise duty evasion of about Rs 100 crore.

In an inquiry being conducted by the Department of Revenue, the firm was allegedly found to have wrongfully claimed ‘area based exemption’ for its new unit at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. A Cadbury India spokesperson confirmed the probe, but declined to comment on it.

As per the central government norms, the area based exemption for new industrial units of firms in Himachal Pradesh provide full exemption from excise duties for specified goods for a period of 10 years. However, for availing this, the unit should have been established before March 2010 to claim such exemption.

However, the officers of Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) found that the company claimed excise duty exemption for its new unit in Sandoli village in Baddi, relating to a period even before it came into existence.

It is learned that the Industries Department of Himachal Pradesh has issued certificate of commercial production to the new unit of Cadbury India Ltd in January, 2011. Officials claimed that Cadbury India Ltd has evaded the central excise duty to the tune of Rs 100-cr.

With the intelligence inputs and certain documents claiming wrong doings, The DGCEI, which began its preliminary probe last year, also carried out the searches at the various premises of the firm and other suspected people. During the investigation, the statements of various persons, including Managing Director of Cadbury India Ltd and at their corporate office at Mumbai and also their ex-employees have been recorded under Section 14 of Central Excise Act, 1944. The Section mandates power to summon persons to give evidence and produce documents in inquiries being carried out by the revenue Department.

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