NGT imposes Rs 500 crore fine on Volkswagen for use of ‘cheat device’

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday slapped a fine of Rs 500 crore on German auto major Volkswagen for damaging the environment through the use of ‘cheat device’ in its diesel cars, increasing the penalty from Rs 171.34 crore imposed earlier by it.

The car manufacturer has been asked to deposit the amount with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within two months. The NGT was hearing a petition seeking a ban on sale of Volkswagen vehicles for alleged violation of emission norms.

The NGT had constituted a four-member expert panel on November 16 last year to submit a report on the matter in the wake of the 2015 global emission scandal or ‘Dieselgate’ when Volkswagen was found guilty of intentionally programming its diesel engines with cheat devices to meet US regulatory standards but actually emit up to 40 times more nitrous oxides (NOx) in real-world conditions.

The expert panel report filed on December 24 estimated that Volkswagen cars released about 48,678 tonnes of NOx in 2016. The panel, which used New Delhi as the base city to calculate the damages, estimated the cost of health damage due to additional NOx from the Volkswagen group vehicles is nearly Rs 171.34 crore.

It may be recalled that on January 21, Volkswagen had informed the NGT that it had deposited Rs 100 crore in accordance with the tribunal’s order.