Pradip Burman, who belongs to the family that owns Dabur India Ltd (valued at over Rs 36,700 crore as on Monday), has two entries in the HSBC Geneva list — of $ 40,000 and $ 3,28,000 — roughly adding to Rs 14 crore, for the financial years 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Investigations into Burman’s accounts started in July 2011. After initially not acknowledging he had an account, Burman in 2012 offered to pay tax to “buy peace” in view of his old age, and of the goodwill that Dabur and his family had. He paid Rs 7.17 crore, including penalties.
Burman opened this account in 1999, when he was in Dubai. Income-Tax documents accessed by The Indian Express show the authorities have set two parameters for initiating prosecution: non-furnishing of account details, and wilful attempt to evade tax. Considering Burman is in his 70s, the I-T department sought the opinion of its lawyers, who, however, opined that since Burman was not a senior citizen at the time of the alleged offence, his case was fit for prosecution.
A mechanical engineer from MIT, Burman joined the family business in 1967 and, in 1981, became managing director of Vidogum and Chemicals. In 1995, he became a director at Dabur India and served as executive director from 2007 to 2012. He is currently founder-chairman of Sundesh, a non-profit organisation that works on educating rural women.
A Dabur spokesperson said on Monday, “We wish to state that this account was opened when he (Pradip) was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account… We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income-Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid, wherever applicable.”