New Delhi: The government will set up a panel of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) experts to probe alleged emission-cheating scandal by the Indian arm of Volkswagen group before slapping any penalty on the carmaker.
The decision to form the panel comes even as the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has confirmed fitment of ‘defeat’ device by the company in its cars to dodge emission tests by authorities.
“The road transport ministry will be forming a committee of IIT experts. The committee will be tasked to analyse and understand the VW (Volkswagen) issue and submit the findings to the ministry,” road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said here on the sidelines of an event.
He said the committee would be asked to submit the report in a month or two. The decision to form the panel instead of taking swift action seems similar to the General Motors India case in which the Centre tasked state governments concerned to form a special investigation team (SIT) and take the penal action as per the applicable law.
Industry watchers have charged the government with going soft on auto majors to ensure conducive investment environment in the country for foreign firms.
“It seems India is a soft state for foreign auto majors. GM India went scot-free for their Tavera vehicle emission and specifications scandal. In that case also a committee was proposed to be set up but nothing happened. Now in the Volkswagen case also there are talks of setting up a committee. There is a set pattern,” said SP Singh, senior fellow at Delhi-based research firm Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT).
Earlier this week, heavy industries ministry found Volkswagen group firms in India violative of emission level set for passenger cars in the country. It referred the issue to road transport ministry for taking final call on penalty for violation and also on halting further sale of its cars fitted with the 'defeat device.'
The German auto major this week said it would recall 3,23,700 cars in the country for rectifying the problem even as it has refuted the charge of putting the device in its cars sold in India. It has stated that its cars are in compliance with BS-IV emission norms.
GM Siddeshwara, minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises, on Tuesday in Parliament said that initial findings by ARAI indicated that the diesel cars manufactured in India by Volkswagen having E189 engine were fitted with the ‘defeat device’, which may lead to excess nitrogen oxide emission levels in on-road vehicles.
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