ANDHRA PRADESH

A.P. Marketing Minister appears before Lok Ayukta

Special Correspondent

Denies corruption charges against him in Volkswagen deal

Offers to quit if his post comes in the way of probeI am prepared to face any enquiry, he says

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Marketing Minister Botcha Satyanarayana has offered to resign from his post if it comes in the way of Lok Ayukta's probe into the Rs. 11.67-crore scandal that broke out in mid-2005 when German auto major Volkswagen explored possibilities of setting up a unit at Visakhapatnam.

Mr. Satyanarayana, then Industries Minister, appeared before Lok Ayukta R. Ramanujam on Thursday in response to summons issued by him. According to Minister's counsel O. Kalaishnath Reddy, the Lok Ayukta had initiated suo motu proceedings to examine the Minister's version of the issues relating to the Volkswagen as it was at variance with those of L.V. Subrahmaniam, then Managing Director of the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation.

The Minister told reporters later that he had never sought exemptions from investigation into the scandal as he had done no wrong. He was prepared to face any inquiry and, added that he was never found to be wavering in making his actions public.

`No bungling'

Mr. Satyanarayana also said there could have been procedural lapses in efforts to clinch the deal with Volkswagen.

Certainly the State Government did not bungle the issue, he asserted.

Some leaders tried to gain political mileage by showing him in poor light. However, people taught them a fitting lesson in the elections.

Responding to a question by Mr. Justice Ramanujam, the Minister said that the allegations of corruption levelled against him in the Volkswagen deal were not true.