Government announces time-bound probe into WalMart lobbying

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Giving in to Opposition demand, the UPA government on Wednesday 12 December announced a time-bound inquiry by a retired judge into reports of lobbying by retail giant Wal Mart to gain entry into India.

Parliamentarians were informed of the government’s decision to initiate a probe into the media reports of lobbying by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath. He said that the Centre will appoint a retired judge to hold a time-bound inquiry into the allegations.

There was furore in Parliament after reports stating that the US retail giant Walmart spent as much as Rs 125 crores in India on lobbying emerged. Parliamentarians demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a judicial panel be set up to ascertain if any bribe was paid by the retail giant. Lobbying, which is legal in the US, is considered as bribery in India and is against the law of the land.

Incidentally, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party, two of UPA’s outside supporters that had voted for FDI in retail in Parliament last week, were among those actively seeking a probe into the reports of how much money Wal Mart has spent so far in India.

The BJP, the JD(U), the AIADMK, the Trinamool Congress, the RJD and the CPI demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee to carry out a time-bound probe into the issue.

 

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