11 Mar 2021: Gadkari denies bribery report; Swedish firm Scania admits 'misconduct'
The office of Union Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, has denied the findings of international media reports that Swedish truck and bus manufacturer Scania delivered a luxury bus to the Minister for his daughter's wedding.
Gadkari's office described the allegations as "malicious, fabricated, and baseless" in a statement on Wednesday.
Scania reportedly paid bribes to win bus contracts in seven Indian states between 2013 and 2016.
Statement: 'Nothing but a figment of media's imagination'
The Union Road Transport and Highways and MSME's office said, "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."
"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."
Fact: 'Entire episode is Scania's internal affair'
Gadkari's office said, "Since the entire episode of the Scania bus is an internal affair of the Swedish company, it will be prudent for the media to wait for an official statement by Scania India which handled the matter."
Statement: 'Gadkari pioneer in introducing Scania's Ethanol-run bus in Nagpur'
Further, Gadkari's office said that he was a "pioneer in introducing Scania's Ethanol-run bus in Nagpur as a part of his drive to bring in green public transport in India."
Gadkari encouraged the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to initiate a pilot project and the Nagpur civic body signed a commercial MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Swedish company, the statement said.
Context: Scania's internal investigation found 'misconduct'
Three media outlets, including Swedish news channel SVT, reported that Scania delivered a specially equipped bus to a company with connections to Gadkari that was intended for his daughter's wedding and was not fully paid for.
Scania's internal investigation reportedly found evidence of misconduct by employees including senior management.
"This misconduct included alleged bribery, bribery through business partners, and misrepresentation," a spokesperson told Reuters.
Report: Scania denies Gadkari used bus for personal use
However, Scania told The Indian Express that the firm sold a bus to one of its Bengaluru-based dealers called Transpro Motors, which further sold it to a Nagpur-based "Indian bus operator" called Sudarshan Hospitality.
The firm denied that the bus was used by Gadkari for personal use.
"I have no information about the current status of the bus," a spokesperson told the publication.