‘The Minister Bus’: Scania delivered luxury bus to minister’s daughter’s wedding

In 2016, Swedish vehicle manufacturer Scania delivered a specially equipped luxury bus to a company with connections to a Cabinet Minister referred to as “a very big man” in Scania’s internal mail trail, Swedish media, SVT reported. The affair is known as “The Minister Bus” in Scania emails.

The bus was intended for the Minister’s daughter’s wedding. This would be picked up by the system and signalled for with alarm bells. But it did not because the system was bypassed by senior Scania employees in India. They did not want to show that this transaction was carried out, says Scania’s CEO Henrik Henriksson, SVT reported.

In November 2016, Scania delivered a specially equipped luxury bus, a repainted Metrolink HD with dark red leather seats, via the dealer to a company with close links to the Cabinet Minister.

The bus was to be used for the Cabinet Minister’s daughter’s wedding a few weeks later. A wedding where part of India’s elite was present. Among other things, there were several ministers among the guests, SVT reported.

The details appear in an internal investigation carried out by Scania and which SVT Nyheter och Uppdrag Granskning has read. The publication takes place in collaboration with the German public service company ZDF.

At the end of 2017, Scania’s auditors received tips that Scania had provided India’s Minister with a specially designed “luxury bus” as a gift.

SVT said according to the report, sources also provided information to the German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen, which owns Scania, that the bus was a gift to an Indian minister with the aim of getting an assignment in India.

The internal investigation shows that there is support for the accusations that Scania provided the Minister’s family with a bus that at that time had not been fully paid for. And that the deal brought a financial benefit for a “senior public official”, SVT reported.

The affair around the bus, which in Scaniamail is called “the minister bus” and “Bus given to by a very big man”, was sensitive, SVT said in the report.

Several of Scania’s top executives were involved in the bus deal. Among other things, Scania’s then CEO of Scania India and his successor. Several of the managers involved are Swedes, SVT said.

SVT said the Minister was very involved in the bus deal. But because it was sensitive to make a deal directly with the minister, the bus was sold via Scania’s dealers who in turn sold or leased the bus to a company with connections to his sons, SVT reported.

The financing was handled by Volkswagen’s finance company. Scania’s CEO confirms that Scania replaced Volkswagen for the part that the minister did not pay.

According to internal investigators, there is still uncertainty about the financing and ownership of the bus, SVT reported.

When SVT and ZDF asked about the bus, Scania had a hard time finding out where the bus is now and who actually owns it.

(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at sanjeev.s@ians.in)