THE Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by car-makers Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited to quash an FIR against it in Uttar Pradesh over a customer’s complaint alleging use of “cheat devices” – which manipulate emission figures – in Audi cars he bought.
A bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanium said the question whether such devices were installed and whether the customer had made any representation in this regard to the company are all questions of fact which cannot be gone into at this stage.
According to the complainant, he bought seven Audi cars from authorised dealers of the company. At the time of purchase and taking delivery, he claimed, he got it clarified from the company that no such device was installed in its vehicles sold in India. However, authorities subsequently found this was not true and that there was higher emission of nitrogen oxide in the company’s models.
Hearing two other applications, the NGT had in March last year concluded that cheat devices were “in fact used” and directed the manufacturers to pay Rs 500 crore as damages. An appeal against this is pending in the SC.
The car maker had earlier moved the Allahabad HC seeking quashing of FIR on the ground that the complaint was lodged more than two years after purchase and that, as per the VAHAN Portal of the government, the complainant had purchased three and not seven vehicles.