The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted raids at the premises of Cadbury India Ltd in Haryana and Himachal, and also lodged an FIR against the company for alleged irregularities and corruption in obtaining licence for its HP factory in 2009-10. The raids were also conducted at the residential and official premises of officials in the two states.
The CBI said Cadbury conspired with central excise officials between 2009-11 and availed excise benefits to the tune of Rs 241 crore for its new unit in Himachal Pradesh, which was 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 anti-corruption unit of CBI, Shimla, conducted these raids on the allegation that Mondelez Foods (earlier known as Cadbury India Limited) paid bribes, misrepresented the facts and manipulated the records to fraudulently avail area-based exemptions benefits on excise duty and Income Tax.
In its enquiry, the CBI found Cadbury India expanded its existing production units to avail the duty benefits. The unit, which was functional since 2005 and manufacturing Bournvita, was prohibited for manufacturing any other commercial products. As per the rule, Cadbury India should have opened a new manufacturing unit instead of expanding the existing unit.
The FIR has been registered under Section 420 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, a Mondelez India spokesperson said in 2019, the company settled a potentially protracted litigation through the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019. "We are yet to receive any formal communication in the matter from the authorities," the company said.