New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a Rs 500 crore fine on Volkswagen for damaging the environment through the use of a ‘cheat device’ in its diesel cars.

Volkswagen has to deposit the amount with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months, as per directions of the bench headed by NGT chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

The green tribunal decision came on a petition seeking a ban on the sale of Volkswagen vehicles for alleged violation of emission norms.  On November 16 last year, the green panel had said that use of ‘cheat device’ leads to an inference of environmental damage and had told it to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

It had also constituted a joint team of representatives of the CPCB, the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, which had recommended a Rs 171.34 crore fine on Volkswagen as “health damages” for causing air pollution in Delhi due to excess nitrogen oxide emissions.

The pleas were filed by Ailawadi, a school teacher, and a few others seeking a ban on the sale of Volkswagen vehicles for alleged violation of emission norms.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had favoured widening of judicial scrutiny of a case pertaining to use of cheat device in diesel cars to flout emission norms in vehicles made by German auto major Volkswagen by bringing other auto majors under the scanner.

A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said that the National Green Tribunal may consider whether the scope of the emission-related case, involving Volkswagen, could be expanded to other carmakers also.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Volkswagen, had said that the company has been singled out for violation of norms which are “non-existent”.