India to check if Volkswagen fudged domestic emission data

New Delhi/Mumbai, Sep 25 (IANS) The government on Friday said it has ordered a probe to find out whether German car manufacturer Volkswagen manipulated emission norms in India too, as it has done in the US.

The development comes after the automobile manufacturer was caught fudging emission data of its diesel powered cars to bypass strict emission norms in the US.

Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Anant Geete told a gathering at an event in Mumbai that the government has requested the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to conduct an investigation into the matter.

ARAI has been requested to investigate the matter. A preliminary report is expected by September 30, Wednesday,” Geete said in Mumbai.

“The investigation into the matter is on. ARAI will see whether the company fudged domestic emission data to bypass the emission norms here,” he said.

According to the minister’s office, a high-level team headed by the top brass of the Pune-based ARAI will call upon the minister on September 30 with preliminary finds.

The ARAI is a research association formed between the automotive industry and the ministry of heavy industries.

Earlier, heavy industries secretary Rajan Katoch also said that ARAI has been asked to investigate the matter.

“We have requested ARAI to check up with Volkswagen and find out if this issue is applicable over here,” Katoch said in New Delhi.

“We need to make sure these kind of things don’t happen here. We are studying the matter.”

The fudging scandal began unfolding last week when the European car giant said it had used a software in the US to provide false emission test results.

The company said its vehicles with 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines are “affected by the manipulations that are being talked about.”

The company’s Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Audi A3 models in the US from 2009 to 2015, and the Passat from 2014-15, were fitted with the devices which produced doctored results. However, diesel cars are far more popular in Europe than in the US.

The value of Volkswagen scrip has shrunk by around 30 percent since the scandal was revealed.

Volkswagen has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the costs of the scandal.

The company’s chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday following the revelation.

Winterkorn said he was “shocked” by recent events and was “not aware of any wrongdoing on my part”.

German public prosecutors have considered an investigation, with US authorities also said to be planning criminal investigations.

Simultaneously, other countries around the world and Europe have also started their own inquiry to find out whether the fudging practice also took place there.

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