Maruti-Suzuki is distancing itself from what it says are erroneous reports of alleged bribery in India concerning an employee of Suzuki Powertrain India, who has subsequently left the company.

The reports alleged Subey Singh had been dismissed for starting industrial unrest but Maruti-Suzuki says the claims have nothing to do with the manufacturer.

“Subey Singh was not an employee of Maruti Suzuki,” a reliable source close to the joint-venture told just-auto from India. “Singh was an employee of Suzuki Powertrain India, that is a vendor to Maruti Suzuki, so Maruti Suzuki has practically nothing to do with this development.

“The allegations of bribery are a reference to the past and are not a reference to Maruti Suzuki in any way.”

Unions have also poured cold water on any suggestion of bribes, noting the sums mentioned, up to IRP60m (US$1.1m) were unrealistic.

“He [Singh] has been dismissed 10 days back,” India’s Trades Union Congress (AITUC) national secretary, Darshan Sachdev, told just-auto from India. “The management allegation was he instigated workers to go on strike. It is a clear case of victimisation.

“It was in the newspaper he was offered bribes but the big amount…IRP60m, no management would offer that money. No proof can be given such an offer can be made.”

Maruti Suzuki was the subject of a bitter dispute last year that saw major industrial unrest including strikes and sit-ins against what unions saw as difficulties with recognition by management of labour bodies.

The Maruti Suzuki source noted the newspaper report was due to be corrected tomorrow (1 May).