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Only states have power to investigate auto makers

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleged that the German automaker had used software to trick regulators measuring toxic emissions on its diesel vehicles between 2008 and 2015.

Written by Sharmistha Mukherjee | New Delhi | Published: September 23, 2015 1:23:43 am

Even as South Korea on Tuesday said it would inspect three diesel models manufactured by Volkswagen to see if it meets stated emission standards, senior officials in the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) said the mandate to investigate and take any punitive action against automobile manufacturers for alleged irregularities in manufactured vehicles lies with state governments and local authorities.

“It is a serious violation. It shows that all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), even those with high-reputation, are cutting corners. In the US, consumer movement is strong and whenever such deviations are brought to public notice, the company comes under severe pressure. The legal framework permits US Environmental Protection Agency to take punitive action. But until the Road Safety Bill is passed, our authority does not have the power to penalise. It is up to the state government (in this case Maharashtra) to take any relevant action,” said a senior official in MoRTH.

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Earlier in 2013, when allegations were levelled against General Motors India for flouting emission norms the case was subsequently referred to the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat where the company had its manufacturing facilities. At the time, GM had recalled 114,000 Taveras for non-compliance with emission standards.

Last Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleged that the German automaker had used software to trick regulators measuring toxic emissions on its diesel vehicles between 2008 and 2015.

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