Delhi City Gov. Rejects AB InBev Plea
Authorities in New Delhi have rejected a plea by AB InBev to temporarily lift a 3-year ban while it hears the global beer giant’s appeal against the tax evasion charges.
AB InBev – the world’s largest beer producer – is the second biggest alcohol industry actor in India’s $7 billion beer market, accounting for a 17.5% market share, according to research firm IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
A random inspection of a high-end bar in New Delhi led to a three year investigation uncovering that SABMiller – later purchased by and merged with AB InBev in 2016 for around $100 billion – used duplicate barcodes on beer bottles supplied to retailers that year, allowing it to evade alcohol taxation.
AB InBev was subsequently barred from selling its products in the critical New Delhi market for the alleged tax evasion.
AB InBev has appealed against the ban to the Commissioner of Excise in the Delhi city government. While the company’s appeal is still under consideration, AB InBev also filed a separate plea with the Commissioner for putting the ban order on hold pending appeal, but that request was turned down.
The (ban) order was detailed, there was no ground to give an interim stay,” said a government official as per Financial Post.
AB InBev’s senior executives have been appearing in front of Delhi officials who are hearing the appeal.