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Volkswagen scam: Judicial custody for Jain

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
August 13, 2005 12:21 IST
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The Central Bureau of Investigation, probing the Rs 11.67-crore Volkswagen scam, brought Ashok Jain, former chief adviser for Volkswagen's Indian project, from Delhi on transit remand on Friday evening and produced him before the CBI Special Court Judge and 12th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Seshagiri Rao, who remanded him to judicial custody till August 25.

Volkswagen chief advisor Jain arrested

CBI had conducted raids on the houses and offices of Ashok Jain in Delhi and Gurgaon. Besides, the registered and administrative offices of Vashista Wahan in Delhi and the house of its director Jagadish Alag Raja in Chennai were also searched on Wednesday. While the registered office houses a chartered accountant's office, the administrative office turned out to be Jain's residence.

The CBI booked cases against Ashok Jain under sections 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of Indian Penal Code. Jain is said to have played an important role in the negotiations with the Andhra Pradesh government for setting up the Volkswagen car project in the state.

The investigating agency filed a petition seeking the custody of Jain. As the application was made just when the judge was leaving the court, he posted the matter for Tuesday. Jain was later shifted to Chanchalguda central prison under heavy police escort.

The CBI is looking for Jagadish Alaga Raja, Bhuwan Kumar Chaturvedi, both directors of Vashista Wahan and Dr Helmut Schuster, Volkswagen's former representative in India, who resigned following charges of corruption.

An investigating official said Jain had the signature authority of the Vashista Wahan account in HSBC, to which the AP government had deposited Rs 11.67 crore to clinch the Volkswagen's car plant to the port city of Visakhapatnam. The money was siphoned off from the account.

The Volkswagen case kicked off a major political controversy in AP, prompting the state government to call for a CBI probe, besides shifting Major Industries Minister Botcha Satyanarayana to another portfolio. Volkswagen later announced that it would pay two million Euros to the AP government for the damages caused due to the suspected illegal dealings of Helmut Schuster and kept its options on the car project open.

Volkswagen row claims minister

The CBI registered a first information report in the case on August 3 against Vashista Wahan, a private firm and other unknown persons to whom the state government had released the equivalent of two million Euros for a joint venture project for the Volkswagen car plant.

The agency took all the documents relating to the case from the state government. It also recovered good documentary evidence pertaining to the transactions during raids conducted in Delhi, Gurgaon, Agra and Chennai. The investigating agency is probing the role of Schuster in the scam and would seek his extradition, if necessary.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
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