Andhra Minister appears in CBI court in Volkswagen case

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Cabinet Minister Botsa Satyanarayana on Tuesday appeared in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court as a witness in the 14-year-old Volkswagen case.

The Minister for Urban Development appeared in response to the summons issued last month.

Satyanarayana is expected to record his statement as the 60th witness in the case.

He was the Industry Minister in the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy government in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2005 when the scandal had surfaced.

The state government had allegedly paid Rs 11.67 crore to Vashishta Wahan Pvt Ltd floated for setting up a Volkswagen manufacturing unit at Visakhapatnam.

Vashishta Wahan, however, turned out to be a fictitious entity.

The scam came to light in 2005 when Volkswagen sacked its then head of Indian operations Helmut Schuster on charges of corruption in some other dealings. Schuster was negotiating on behalf of Volkswagen with the Andhra government for setting up the car plant.

Following allegations by the opposition that Satyanarayana and some others had paid the money to Vashistha Wahan through “dubious” means, the state government ordered the probe by the CBI.

The CBI in 2010 filed a chargesheet against six accused including Schuster. They were charged with criminal conspiracy and cheating. However, Satyanarayana was included as a witness in the case.

The other accused include businessman Jagdish Alaga Raja and his sister Gayatri Chandravadanan, Ashok Kumar Jain, Bhuwan Kumar Chaturvedi and Joseph V. George. They allegedly colluded with Schuster in floating Vashishta Wahan.

In 2015, the Enforcement Directorate had also filed a chargesheet in the case.

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