New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it will plug regulatory loopholes, if any, to prevent manipulation of data on pollution control by automobile manufacturers in India in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal in the United States. “Yes. This is, in fact, topmost on my mind right now. Obviously, we need to make sure these kinds of things don’t happen here," secretary of heavy industries Rajan Katoch said. Asked about steps being taken, he said, “We are studying the matter... if there are any regulatory issues here, they are looked at and plugged."

The heavy industries ministry is the nodal authority for implementation of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP), under which testing and research and development centres have been set up across the country for vehicles. Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s embattled chief executive officer, stepped down on Wednesday in the wake of the scandal engulfing the German auto giant, which has been accused of systematically manipulating data of exhaust emissions tests in millions of diesel cars sold worldwide.

The German auto major had admitted to the irregularities concerning a particular software used in diesel engines in “some 11 million vehicles worldwide". The German government has launched an investigation into the allegations. The allegations against Germany’s largest car maker were initially raised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which last week ordered it to recall nearly half a million diesel cars on the ground that they were fitted with a device which allowed cars to pass emission control tests by showing much lower levels of pollution than in ordinary use.

A special software enabled the cars to detect when they were on emission control test and lower their pollution levels. It could hide the fact that the emission levels of diesel cars were 40 times higher than the level of pollutants allowed in the US.