New Delhi, Sept 25: A probe has begun to find out if German auto major Volkswagen manipulated emission tests in India as it did in the US, where it faces fine of up to USD 18 billion.
Apex automotive testing agency Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has started the probe after it was asked by the Ministry of Heavy Industries to inquire into the matter.
"We have sought details from Volkswagen and are awaiting their response," ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) Director Rashmi Urdhwareshe told PTI. When asked if ARAI would pick up random samples to test, she said:
"We are yet to decide on that." Urdhwareshe said the testing agency will work as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Heavy Industries. When contacted, a Volkswagen India spokesperson declined to comment, stating "the investigations are still running".
Heavy Industries Secretary Rajan Katoch said yesterday that the ministry has asked ARAI to inquire if VW manipulated emissions tests in India as it did in the US. VW has admitted that 11 million diesel engine cars worldwide were fitted with the software that helped in manipulating emission tests.
It is now facing investigations in the US, South Korea, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and the UK. Australia has said it is monitoring the situation. In the wake of the scandal in the US, the embattled CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, stepped down earlier this week.
The allegations against Germany's largest car maker were initially raised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which last week ordered it to recall nearly half a million diesel cars fitted with a device that allowed cars to pass emission control tests by showing much lower levels of pollution than in ordinary use.
A special software enabled the cars to detect when they were on emission control test and lower their pollution levels. It could hide the fact that the emission levels of diesel cars were 40 times higher than the level of pollutants allowed in the US.