Controversial Indian-Canadian businessman partners with Russia ally for India buses contract

(By Monitoring Desk)

A German businessman with KGB and Vladimir Putin links is a partner in the major Indian Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal with the controversial Indian-Canadian businessman Sri Ram Tumuluri who has been in news linked with several scandals. 

Investigation reveals that Sri Ram Tumuluri’s German national partner Thomas-Christan Seitz is known for close ties with Kremlin and has worked for the interests of Russia’s feared spy agency KGB – now called  Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). 

Two years ago, Ram Tumuluri’s England & Wales registered Causis Group Ltd won a tender for supplying The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) with 1,400 electric vehicles. Causis, registered in the UK but without any operations, is wholly owned by Tumuluri. Its operating entity is India-registered Causis E-Mobility Pvt Ltd. While on paper it is owned by its directors Marudur Subramanyam Chandrasekar and Ravi Kumar Panga, Causis E-Mobility is in reality controlled by Tumuluri. 

Revelations that Causis Group Ltd has links with the Russian intelligence and Kremlin are alarming. According to a forensic study, Causis acquired a 100% stake of German-registered Eurabus GmbH in September 2021. Eurabus was founded and formerly owned by Thomas-Christan Seitz. Eurabus have previously claimed to be in the process of opening EV factories in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and possibly Tanzania. 

Causis Group Ltd was incorporated in England and Wales on 11 June 2021 under company number 13452464 and the company is 100% owned by Jersey-incorporated New Horizons Investments Limited, which in is turn 100% owned by Tumuluri, papers show. Causis Group’s statutory Directors are Tumuluri, Peter Knez, Charles Paul Rowan, Thomas-Christian Seitz and Gary Anthony Dugan. 

Examination of original German corporate filings reveals that Eurabus GmbH was registered on 02 July 2015 under company number HRB 168446B. Eurabus GmbH’s initial share capital was €25,000 and was 100% owned by Euracom Group GmbH, a company managed and controlled by Seitz. On 31 October 2019, Eurabus GmbH increased its share capital to €1.105 million. On 30 September 2021 Causis Group Ltd acquired 100% stake in Eurabus GmbH from Euracom Group GmbH. 

Seitz, currently registered as resident in an upper class former East Berlin area, grew up in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) and attended the infamous Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), where 50% of the graduates are alleged to have gone into the Soviet diplomatic service and 50% into the KGB.

A journalist who knew of Seitz and wrote a story about him and his activities in 2008 noted that Seitz graduated from the MGIMO in 1992. The journalist’s article, entitled “The Russians are Coming” in the daily newspaper Die Welt, described Seitz as associated with two Russian “security foundations” closely linked with Vladimir Putin. 

In the article, Seitz is described as “Vice President” of the “Security Academy Waldmünchen” in Bavaria that was a branch of the “Academy for Legal Order, Security, and Defense Matters” in Moscow. The Academy was founded by Vladimir Putin himself. Putin is described as “Member No. 1”. Under cover of an academic organization, official events were reportedly organised for gathering intelligence in politics and business. 

The article also states that Seitz and the academy were closely connected to an organisation called the “International Counterterrorism Association,” also in Moscow. That organisation in Germany, the article notes, can be connected to Karlshorst, Berlin where the KGB had its headquarters. 

Seitz states on his LinkedIn profile that he has been Managing Director of Eurabus since October 1992. However, German corporate records revealed Eurabus was incorporated only in 2015. Seitz would appear to be referring to Euracom GmbH and the Euracom Group of companies that was founded in 1994 as far as can be determined from corporate records. 

According to a recently published biography entitled “Unbreakable – An Extraordinary Life between East and West”, by Dr. Werner Resch, a business partner of Seitz’s beginning in the early 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Seitz was “very big in business with armoured cars in the former Soviet Union”. 

Further research reveals several corporate entities in Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic associated with Seitz, most of them related to producing and selling luxury armoured cars and minibuses.

Causis’ operating entity in India Causis E-Mobility Pvt Ltd was incorporated on 04 June 2021 in New Delhi under company number U34102DL2021PTC381936. Its statutory Directors and Shareholders are Marudur Subramanyam Chandrasekar and Ravi Kumar Panga.

Prior to joining Causis as its Director & CEO in May 2020, Panga was a senior executive at Ashok Leyland, an Indian multinational automotive manufacturer. 

Panga is in business with British national James Fitzgerald O’Keefe, a former contact of Tumuluri’s. According to Panga’s LinkedIn page, he was CEO of EGV Transport India Private Limited, an Indian manufacturing company, in May 2020 for one month. EGV is registered to the same business address as Causis E-Mobility. EGV is 100% owned by UK- registered dormant company EGV Transport Corporation Limited, which in turn is 75% owned by James Fitzgerald O’Keefe. O’Keefe and Panga are statutory Directors of EGV.  Marudur has been Head of Business Development at Causis E-Mobility since June 2021.

In October 2021, Causis E-Mobility signed a strategic MoU with state investment promotion agency Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation with a view to establish an electrical vehicles plant in Talegaon. In February 2022, Causis reportedly signed a similar MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government. 

The American Daily Post has reported quoting Indian sources that Ram Tumuluri’s $8 billion India electric buses deal is in huge trouble as he has failed to implement the Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal with the Mumbai authorities, Indian govt sources told a US publication.

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