A Swedish media investigation has raised questions over a purported transaction between bus and truck maker Scania and an unnamed Indian company, which supposedly have a close relation with Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's family.
As per the Swedish news channel SVT News, the alleged transaction was first flagged in the internal probe carried out by Scania. This transaction, in the internal investigation, appears to be characterised as a deal of something for something (quid-pro-quo).
A specially equipped luxury bus, a repainted Metrolink HD with dark red leather seats was delivered by Scania, via the dealer to a company with close links to the Gadkari's family. The bus was to be used for Nitin Gadkari's daughter's wedding a few weeks later in which elite personalities of India and several ministers were present, the media report claimed.
According to the news media report, at the end of 2017, tips were received by Scania's auditors that India's Union Transport Minister has been provided with a 'luxury bus' as a gift. According to the internal investigation, the information was shared with Scania's owner German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen, that the bus was given as a gift to an Indian minister to get an assignment in India.
In the internal emails exchanged within Scania, this bus affair is termed as 'the minister bus' and 'Bus given to a very big man'. Scania's top executives such as the then CEO of Scania India and his successor along with several others were involved in this deal.
The SVT journalists were told by a centrally located person in the company that Nitin Gadkari was very involved in the bus deal and as it was sensitive to make a direct deal with the central minister, the bus was sold via Scania's dealers who in turn sold or leased the bus to a company with connections to Gadkari's sons. The SVT news report suggests that the financing was handled by Volkswagen's finance company.
The office of Minister for Road, Transport & Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari has denied the allegations as "sinister and malicious".
"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 the media's imagination. Gadkari and his family members have absolutely nothing to do with the purchase or sale of the bus. And also, they have anything to do with any firm or individual who might be linked with the purchase or sale of the bus," a statement released by the MoRTH said.
"This is very unfortunate and part of a sinister and malicious campaign to malign Gadkari and tarnish his unblemished reputation as a person of impeccable integrity by dragging his and his family name into this alleged bus affair by a fraction of media," the statement read.