DRI summons Bottlers Nepal’s executives, steps up preparations to file lawsuit against them on charge of revenue leakage

Published On: December 19, 2021 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 19: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI), which has been investigating the cases of revenue leakage by the Bottlers Nepal Pvt Ltd, has stepped up preparations to file a lawsuit against the multinational company.

Bottlers Nepal produces and sells Coca Cola in Nepal. Issuing a public notice on Friday, the DRI has asked the executives concerned to be present at the department within a week. “In case of their failure to present at the DRI within the date stipulated in the notice, no complaint petition shall be entertained and action shall be taken in accordance with the Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act 1995,” reads the DRI notice.

The revenue investigation body has issued a caution notice against 15 executives of Bottlers Nepal. These include chairperson of the company Shukla Wassan, an Indian citizen from Gurgaon, India.

Likewise, Managing Director Puneet Chandrapal Varshney and directors Melvin Tan Chun Pin, Gaurav Khosla, Sundeep Bajoria, Debabrata Mukherjee, Sumanta Datta, Jawahar Solai Kuppuswamy and Sanket Ray are among the Indian nationals against whom the DRI has stepped up its actions. Managing Director Salman Latif Rawn from Pakistan, Finance Manager Sumit Goyal from Malaysia and Director Mohamed Amin Ghoneim from Singapore are also among those DRI plans to file cases on revenue leakage.

The DRI has also sought to take action against foreign citizens Denise Marie-Louise Lauwens, Keith Ian Stacey and Choliya De Silva, whose countries of origin have not been disclosed.   

On suspicion of evading tax, the DRI has been investigating the multinational company since last year. Bottlers Nepal has been accused of evading capital gain tax while transferring the promoters’ shares of foreign stakeholder six years ago.

According to the DRI officials, Coca Cola Southwest Asia Holdings Limited, one of the main investors of Bottlers Nepal, had sold a large amount of its stakes in the Nepal-based company to Bottling Investments Group. But the company has failed to notify officially the government authority concerned in Nepal in an apparent bid to evade tax.

Bottlers Nepal has an issued capital of Rs 430 million and a paid-up capital of Rs 194.80 million. Three-fourth of the company’s capital is held by the foreign companies while the rest of the shares are in the name of domestic investors that includes 22 percent from the Khetan Group.

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