A plea seeking refund of incentives given to mild hybrid vehicles of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Ltd under the FAME India scheme prompted the National Green Tribunal today to seek responses from the Centre and the carmaker.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Ministry of Environment and Forests, International Centre For Automotive Technology and Maruti Suzuki India Limited while seeking their replies before February 21.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar seeking directions to the carmaker to deposit Rs 95 crore subsidy along with interest received during sale of its vehicles 'Ciaz and Ertiga' with the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
The petition, filed through advocate Sumeer Sodhi, alleged that the vehicles manufactured by Maruti claiming to be mild hybrid vehicles were "in fact not anywhere close to being such hybrid vehicles and the subsidies received were totally wrong, mala fide and illegal".
It claimed that the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS and Ertiga SHVS models was not a hybrid or mild hybrid vehicle and the only change in the engine was an integration of the starter motor and the generator motor termed as Integrated Starter Generator motor.
Kumar said the government till February 15 last year had disbursed an amount of nearly Rs 150 crore to various companies under the FAME India scheme and out of the this Maruti Suzuki India Ltd alone received Rs 95.61 crore as subsidy.
The plea said that while the applicant was trying to receive information with regard to the certification of these vehicles which qualified as 'mild hybrid vehicles', the government excluded the 'mild hybrid' technology from all subsidies and benefits extended under the FAME-India scheme.
"The only plausible explanation for the sudden withdrawal of subsidy to the cars manufactured by the Respondent No.3 (Maruti) appears to be the RTI applications by the applicant trying to seek information of the certification of the vehicles produced by Maruti categorised as 'Mild Hybrid Vehicles.'
"As soon as the government realised that the information asked for by the applicant would disclose the ex-facie illegal grant of subsidy, the government chose to withdraw the subsidy," the plea contended.
"Pass an order regarding utilisation of the subsidy fund in an effective manner for prevention of pollution and implementation of environmental laws," the plea said.
MSI's Ertiga and Ciaz, equipped with Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) technology, had received incentives of Rs 13,000 for each car under the scheme.
FAME India is part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)