Home / News / India /  SMEV refutes whistleblower claim on Fame-II fraud, files complaint with cyber cell
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The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, an EV industry body, is pushing back against a slew of whistleblower allegations against some of its top members.

It has lodged a complaint with the cyber cell and Ministry of Home Affairs, claiming that a group of individuals is acting in vested interest to malign certain electric vehicle makers. SMEV has also put out public notices urging recipients of the said emails to the MHA or the association.

E-mails alleging fraudulent practices in obtaining incentives under the Ministry of Heavy Industry's (MHI) 10,000 crore FAME-II subsidy scheme against electric two-wheeler companies such as Hero Electric and Okinawa Autotech have triggered investigations by the government into the manufacturers' localization efforts - a key criteria which makes an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) eligible for subsidy. MHI has suspended subsidies for the two EV makers - and investigations to unearth the extent of imported content in the vehicles on which subsidies are claimed are currently underway by committees formed by the government and its homologation agencies.

The whistle blower emails have named several other e-two-wheeler makers & accused them of subsidy fraud, including Ampere, Benling India & even Ola Electric.

"There have been a number of anonymous emails attempting to malign companies in the EV segment, as well as officials of the Department of Heavy Industries. Please note that these individuals/ groups are acting in concert and have been reported to the Cyber Cell, Police as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs," SMEV said on Monday.

SMEV's latest move follows a petition to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on EVs to examine the intent behind these allegations in light of the benefits the FAME-II scheme has accorded to the industry.

SMEV also shot off a letter to the media detailing “anonymous campaigns" trying to get pioneering EV firms out of business by turning a formerly sympathetic regime against these companies.

“Something strange is happening in the E-Mobility space. A wonderful and well-planned, and almost well-executed policy so far has been suddenly put to the test – with premeditated disaster as almost a certain outcome. How did this come to be?" it said in the unsigned letter. 

“Normally, such anonymous campaigns (referring to whistleblower emails sent to the government) should not have rattled anyone. But strangely, the startups started progressively being cold-shouldered, and subsidy allocation was withheld." 

“Clearly, this was not a campaign by some wet behind-the-ears do-gooder... it was a cabal acting in concert with some special interest groups because, one by one, the insinuations started piling up against the startups. These are new players without the deep pockets of fuel-based scooter companies. They will collapse without subsidies. So an unusual situation has been created, where companies serving the government’s policy by starting the e-scooter revolution are being edged out of the market by an anti-e-mobility policy group."

People in the know said Okinawa Autotech and Hero Electric are looking to approach the court to claim FAME-II subsidies which were passed on to the customers but were not reimbursed. SMEV said approximately 1,000 crore in subsidy backlog had not been paid to the industry.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alisha Sachdev

Alisha Sachdev is an assistant editor with Mint based in Delhi. She reports on the auto and mobility sector, with a special focus on emerging clean mobility technologies. She also focusses on developing multimedia properties for Mint and currently hosts the 'In A Minute' series and the Mint Primer podcast. Previously, she has worked with CNBC-TV18 and NDTV.
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