London, May 9 (IANS) Indian-American Hemanth Kappanna, whose research helped expose Volkswagens conspiracy to lie about its diesel cars emissions, has been sacked by General Motors (GM) — his current employer with a one-way ticket to India.
According to a New York Times report, Kappanna “was one of about 4,000 GM workers laid off in what the company called a strategic transformation”.
“In 2013, he was part of a small team of engineering students in West Virginia whose research helped expose Volkswagen’s decade-long conspiracy to lie about its diesel cars’ emissions,” the report added.
Dubbed as the “diesel dupe,” the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 found that many Volkswagen cars being sold in America had a “cheating software” in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results.
The German carmaker has already paid $23 billion to resolve criminal charges and lawsuits in the US.
Kappanna joined GM in 2014 after finishing his doctorate.
While studying at West Virginia University, the “director of his programme asked him to complete a grant application from the International Council on Clean Transportation”.
The council wanted to test the emissions of German diesel cars sold in America.
Kappanna’s proposal helped the university win a modest $70,000 grant.
Kappanna, with two other graduate students Marc Besch from Switzerland and Arvind Thiruvengadam from India performed the research into Volkswagen diesel cars.
Based on their research, the US regulators began an investigation and “forced Volkswagen to confess that it had installed the cheating software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide, including almost 600,000 in the US”.
GM said that Kappanna’s dismissal “was not related to any emissions compliance concerns or related issues.”