In a huge relief to Anheuser-Busch InBev, a New Delhi tribunal has stayed the ban imposed on sale of its products in 2019. This implies the world's largest brewer can sell its beer products in the national capital until further notice. AB InBev was banned from selling its products for three years in July 2019 over allegations of tax evasion. The company, however, denied them and challenged the decision. The Delhi HC had trashed Ab InBev's appeal against the ban, directing the brewer to approach the tribunal.
The city tribunal on February 4 issued a single page order, wherein it stayed the ban as the company's plea was being heard.
According to Reuters, a source close to the company said the world's brewing giant would continue to appeal against the ban. The argument given by the company is that they were not informed about this beforehand and did not receive adequate notice.
The next hearing in the matter would take place on February 25, said the tribunal order. A Delhi government official said the government would continue to defend the ban order.
In 2016, the Delhi Excise Department had found that SABMiller, acquired by Ab InBev in 2016, was allegedly using duplicate barcodes on beer bottles supplied to city retailers to pay lower tax. An official AbInBev India spokesman told Reuters the brewer was encouraged by the stay order. "We are committed to operating with integrity and ethics and remain excited about our business in India," he added.
AB InBev, whose beers include Budweiser and Hoegaarden, is the second biggest player in India's $7 billion market, with a 17.5 per cent share, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis estimates.