GM has fired a PIO technician who has exposed Volkswagen emissions fraud

FRANKFURT: Maybe It Just Seems Like A Victim Of Corporate Restructuring, A Foreign Employee Whose Skills Were No Longer Needed.

But Kappanna, An Indian-born Engineer Who Was Fired By General Motors In February, Car History Changed. In 2013, He Was Part Of A Team Of Engineering Students Whose Research Helped To Expose Volkswagen ' S Ten Year Complot To Lie About His Diesel Cars ' Emissions. The German Car Manufacturer Has So Far Paid $ 23 Billion To Solve US Criminal Charges And Lawsuits, And A Total Of $ 33 Billion.

Kappanna ' S Role As Hero In Bringing Out The VW Scandal, Did Not Protect Him When His Supervisor Called Him To A Meeting Room In February. Kappanna, Who Had Been Living In The US For 17 Years, Joined GM In December 2014 After His Promotion.

The Supervisor Said It Was Nothing Personal, Kappanna, 41, Last Week Remembered. His Farewell Package Consisted Of Two Months ' Pay And A Single Trip To India. He Was One Of About 4,000 GM Workers Made Redundant In What The Company Called A" Strategic Transformation."

They Let Me Go, He Said. Can't Find A Job Before His Work Visa ' S 60-day Grace Period Expired, Kappanna, Single And Without Children, Returned A Few Days Later To Bengaluru, His Hometown.

Kappanna Was A Graduate Student At West Virginia University, Known For His Research Into Car Emissions. The Director Of His Program Asked Him To Apply For A Grant From The International Council For Clean Transport. The Council, A Non-profit Organization, Wanted To Test The Emissions Of German Diesel Cars Sold In The US. Kappanna Was Working On A PhD And His Proposal Helped The University Win A $ 70,000 Grant.

Kappanna And Two Other Students, Marc Besch From Switzerland And Arvind Thiruvengadam From India, Were Selected To Do Fieldwork.

The Three Did Not Know, But They Collected Evidence Of A Crime. They Documented That VW Was More Polluted Than Allowed. Their Investigation Did Not Immediately Accuse VW Of Misconduct. But The Data It Contained Provided Red Flags For Supervisors.

Kappanna Said He Is Proud Of His Role In Unmasking VW ' S Misconduct. But He Also Wonders If He Was Seen Within GM As Overly Diligent About Compliance And Friendly To Regulators. GM Said This Week That Kappanna ' S Dismissal Not Related To Emission Compliance Issues Or Related Issues. " That He Was Not An American Citizen, Also Did Not Play A Role, GM Said.