A Swedish media house has leveled allegations of corruption against luxury truck and bus maker Scania, after an “internal investigation” reportedly found evidence of misconduct between 2013 and 2016 in India. Swedish news channel SVT, German broadcaster ZDF and India’s Confluence Media have reported the alleged misconduct.
According to Reuters, Scania’s 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. The charges are that Scania paid bribes in seven states in India to obtain bus contracts.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s office has termed “malicious, fabricated, and baseless” the reports that Scania delivered a luxury bus to Gadkari for use in his daughter’s wedding in 2016.
“The media allegations that in November 2016, Scania delivered a luxury bus to a company that had close ties with Gadkari’s sons are malicious, fabricated and baseless,” said a statement issued by the office of the Union Road Transport and Highways and MSME on Wednesday, The Indian Express reported. “And the allegations that the bus was not paid for and was used for the wedding of Gadkari’s daughter are nothing but a figment of media’s imagination.”
Reuters quoted a Scania spokesperson as saying that the company started its internal investigation in 2017. “This misconduct included alleged bribery, bribery through business partners and misrepresentation,” the spokesperson said.
Bloomberg said bribes going up to 65,000 euros had been paid to Indian officials of state road transport corporations in 19 cases.
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 licence plates on trucks.
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.