Scania is also alleged to have delivered a bus to India’s Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, which was for his daughter’s wedding.

File photo of trucks built by ScaniaImage for representation: Facebook/Scania Group
Money Controversy Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 10:02

Allegations of corruption have been raised by a Swedish media house against luxury truck and bus maker Scania, after an internal investigation reportedly found evidence of misconduct between 2013 and 2016 in India. This was reported in an investigation by Swedish news channel SVT, German broadcaster ZDF and India's Confluence Media.

Scania, according to Reuters, said the misconduct included those by senior management who have all since left the company. The Swedish bus maker is a unit under Volkswagen AG’s commercial vehicle arm Traton SE.

It had been alleged that Scania paid bribes in seven states in India to obtain bus contracts. 

1. According to Bloomberg, bribes going up to 65,000 euros had been paid to Indian officials of state road transport corporations in 19 cases.

2. ZDF, citing the internal investigation document, reportedly said that Scania falsified vehicle documents and registration papers for 100 trucks to sell them to a public-sector coal mining company. According to SVT, it falsified truck models by replacing chassis numbers and license plates on trucks.

3. Scania’s spokesperson told Reuters that the company started its internal investigation in 2017. “This misconduct included alleged bribery, bribery through business partners and misrepresentation,” the spokesperson said.

4. According to SVT, Scania is also alleged to have delivered a bus to India’s Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, which was for his daughter’s wedding and had not been paid for in full. The Scania Metrolink HD bus, said to be a specially-equipped “luxury bus”, was, according to SVT, by parent company Volkswagen to get an assignment in India. The report states that the bus was sold via Scania's dealers, who either sold or leased the bus to a company with connections to Gadkari's sons. It goes on to add that there is still ambiguity about the bus’s ownership and financing.

Scania told the Indian Express that no bus was sent to Gadkari for personal use, and that it had sold Scania Metrolink bus to one of its dealers, Bengaluru-based Transpro Motors, which in turn sold it to a company named Sudarshan Hospitality, which is based out of Nagpur. The company said it did not know about the current status of the bus.

According to the IE report, Scania denied engaging in any business deal with Gadkari’s sons.

5. In a statement, Nitin Gadkari’s office has denied the allegations, calling them “malicious, fabricated and baseless”, and said allegations about it being not paid for and used for his daughter’s wedding was a “figment of media’s imagination”.

“Gadkari and his family members have absolutely nothing to do with the purchase or sale of the bus. Nor do they have anything to do with any firm or individual who might be linked with the purchase or sale of the bus,” the statement noted, stating that it was part of a “sinister and malicious campaign” to tarnish Gadkari’s name.

6. Scania has reportedly said that the police were not involved. “While the evidence is sufficient to prove breaches in compliance with Scania’s own business codes so that the company can take severe action accordingly, the evidence is not strong enough to lead to prosecution,” the spokesman told Reuters.

In 2018, Scania said it shut down its bus body manufacturing segment in its Indian factory at Narasapura and stopped selling buses in India. At the time, it said it was continuing to manufacture bus and truck chassis at the factory, but the CEO said that the factory had been closed down.

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