German auto major Volkswagen Group had yesterday announced recall of 3,23,700 vehicles across three brands -- Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen -- after a government-ordered probe found the group using diesel engines equipped with a defeat device that helps cheat emission tests.
"The violation was detected when the on-road vehicles were tested. It is a well thought-out crime," Union Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete said at an event here.
ARAI found that Volkswagen violated emission norms in India to the extent of 8-9 times of the current levels, he said, adding that his ministry is referring the matter to Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to take action against the company.
Elaborating steps planned by the government to ensure that emission norms are not violated, Geete said: "Over the next six months, we will carry out checks on emission levels of all diesel passenger vehicles in India." The process of testing the diesel passenger vehicles by ARAI will begin this month and stretch over a 6-month period.
"From the end of this month, we will start testing all passenger diesel vehicles in India to estimate whether they have committed emission violations. The process of testing diesel passenger vehicles by ARAI will be completed in six months," Additional Secretary in the Heavy Industries Ministry Ambuj Sharma told PTI.
When asked if Volkswagen will face any penalty or action, he said MoRTH will take a decision on the matter in a couple of days.
"We have referred the VW issue to MoRTH to decide on the penalty aspect under MVA and CMVR provisions. They will also decide in one or two days whether sales by Volkswagen should be halted till it completes the recall process," Sharma said.
The National Green Tribunal had recently sought a response from the Centre and the German automobile major on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of its vehicles in the country for allegedly flouting emission norms. Volkswagen has been given eight months to complete the recall process, Sharma pointed out.
Photograph: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.Com