Companies & Sectors
Cadbury gets notice from excise dept for dodging duties of over Rs 252 crore

The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence has issued the show-cause notice after its investigation found that the company misused “area-based exemption” for its new unit in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh even before it came into existence
 

Chocolates and confectionery major Cadbury India has been issued a notice for a demand of over Rs250 crore in excise duty allegedly evaded by it by claiming exemption for a non-existing' production unit.

 

The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence has issued the show-cause notice after its investigation found that the company misused “area-based exemption” for its new unit in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh even before it came into existence, official sources said.

 

The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence has given the company 30 days to respond. A Cadbury India spokesperson said it will respond to the show-cause notice in consultation with its legal advisers. "We are in the process of reviewing the contents of the show-cause notice from the Excise Department and will respond to it in consultation with our legal advisers. A show-cause is a matter of form in any such enquiry," the spokesperson said.

 

“A compliant and ethical corporate culture, which includes adhering to laws and regulations in the countries in which we operate, is integral to our success. To that end, we have been fully cooperating with the authorities on this enquiry.

 

“Since the process is currently under way, it will be inappropriate on our part to discuss the details at this time,” he said. Under 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. During investigation, the officials 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, the sources said.

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VVIP chopper deal: CBI grills former Air Chief SP Tyagi; his cousins

The former Air Chief was quizzed for over two hours after his cousins Julie and Docsa Tyagi faced a barrage of questions on their alleged association with European middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe

 
Former Air Chief SP Tyagi and his cousins were today questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for several hours in connection with its ongoing probe into alleged kickbacks in the Rs3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.
 
The former Air Chief, who reached the CBI headquarters at about 3.00 pm, was quizzed for over two hours after his cousins Julie and Docsa Tyagi faced a volley of questions on their alleged association with European middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe.
 
Gerosa and Haschkhe have been accused by the Italian investigators of payment of illegal gratification to swing the deal for 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland.
 
The sources said the agency has already questioned executives of Indian arms of Aeromatrix and IDS Infotech—the companies through which alleged bribe was routed from Mauritius and Tunisia in the garb of payments for engineering contracts.
 
In his probe report, the Italian prosecutor had said that Gerosa and Haschkhe had close contacts with former Air Chief’s family, particularly his three cousins—Julie, Docsa and Sandeep.
 
It had claimed that Haschkhe and Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, managed to change the tender details, modifying the ‘operational ceiling’ from 18,000 feet to 15,000 feet altitude, thus making AgustaWestland eligible to take part in the tender process.
 
The report also said that the duo managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines, swinging the deal in its favour.
 
The deal came under the scanner after the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs362 crore in India to get orders for the helicopters was arrested, prompting the government to order a CBI probe. 
The CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini were arrested by Italian investigators in connection with the case.
 
The CEOs paid the middlemen through a consultancy contract between AgustaWestland and Gordian Services Sarl an amount of 400,000 euros (about Rs2.8 crore) of which 100,000 euros (Rs72 lakh) were paid cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep), the report said.
 
The former Air Chief and his three cousins have denied the allegations. 
 

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Moneylife Foundation honours women activists on International Women’s Day for the 4th year

Why it is important to have a special day to recognize Women’s issues and why this year is especially important

 
We live in strange times. One the one hand, almost all the glass ceilings that prevented Indian women from corporate achievement have been shattered. On the other, the rising sense of insecurity, that was manifest in the public protests that followed the gruesome gang-rape and death of a brave Delhi student have triggered the most regressive reactions and had a huge impact on women’s freedom.
 
Moneylife Foundation, since its inception has started a tradition of honouring women who have made a difference to some aspect of society. For details of our event this year, click here.
 
Just two years ago, when we still seemed to be marching ahead towards greater freedom for women, we honoured activists working on different aspects of civil society—school bus issues, advanced locality management, noise pollution, etc. The next year, we honoured activists who worked at ensuring that the rest of India caught up with those who were racing ahead and enjoying the fruits of liberalisation. In our third year, the two activists we honoured from Goa have devoted their lives to fighting child sexual abuse and trafficking of women. But if we thought that Goa’s problems were peculiar to a tourist paradise, we were so wrong. The Delhi gang-rape was a big wake up call! But it is a good time to recall the pioneering work done by two extraordinary activists for almost three decades on gender equality and working with some of the most marginalized people in India. 
 
Jyoti Mhapsekar and six friends set up Stree Mukti Sanghatana in 1975 to work with disadvantaged women. A playwright and songwriter—her play Mulgi Zhali Ho! (It’s Girl!) became a subject of household discussion and has also been translated into Hindi. 
 
This daughter of freedom fighters has now gone on to work with women ragpickers, who, she says, are at the lowest rung of the economic chain even in this work of sorting and clearing garbage. (Read more about her work in Moneylife : Beyond Money—Women for Women and the World Too!
 
Meena Seshu of SANGRAM is the other activist that Moneylife Foundation is honoured to felicitate.  SANGRAM, based in Sangli, is a sex workers’ collective which seeks to empower the women to fight for their human rights and work against the spread of HIV/AIDs. 
 
When Meena Seshu first entered a brothel in rural India, she was expecting a melodramatic scene from a Bollywood film, in which poor helpless women were being victimised by brutal, aggressive men. Seshu, who runs SANGRAM, an Indian non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works with sex workers to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, soon found that the reality was rather different. These women were, for the most part, in control of their lives, but through a combination of prejudice and fear were being mistreated by every section of society.  Meena’s work is best explained through this touching video.
 
Here is a glimpse of what Moneylife Foundation has done in the past:
Women’ Day 2010: Ms Kishori Udeshi, first woman deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India spoke on women’s rights and finance. That day, we honoured Ms Anandini Thakur, 82 and a well known civic activist, Ms Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation which works on noise and environmental issues and Ms Indrani Malkani, who pioneered the safe schoolbus project.  (Know your bank as well, says Kishori J Udeshi of BCSBI, in Moneylife Event on International Women's Day and pictures here)
 
March 2011: Deena Mehta, the first lady director of the Bombay Stock Exchange was our chief guest. We felicitated:
Ms Nikita Ketkar of Masoom, an NGO that runs night schools for children; Ms Preeti Telang, of Swadhar Fin-Access, an NGO that teaches basics of financial literacy to marginalized people in Dharavi, Mumbai; and Ms Chandita Mukherjee, of Comet Media, which produces films and educational toys for children.
 
Women’s Day 2012: We felicitated two amazing women from Goa: 
Advocate Albertina Almeida, a women’s rights activist, and  Ms Nishtha Desai who has worked against child sexual abuse, got the government to pass a law to protect against paedophilia. (Moneylife Foundation honours Goa women activists and Pictures here)
 
Come and join us on Friday March 8th at Yacht Club, Colaba, to celebrate this year’s selection of women (supported by DSP BlackRock's Winvestor Initiative) who are making a difference to our world. Register now!
 

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