Govt gives in, orders probe into Wal-Mart lobbying report
Bowing to opposition pressure, the government today announced a time-bound inquiry by a retired judge into reports of lobbying by retail giant Wal-Mart to gain entry into India.
Bowing to opposition pressure, the government on Wednesday announced a time-bound inquiry by a retired judge into reports of lobbying by retail giant Wal-Mart to gain entry into India. However, Walmart's local joint venture, Bharti Walmart, on Wednesday said the $25 million cost incurred by the parent company on lobbying was restricted to its expenses on American officials in the US.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath made the announcement as soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day.
"The government will appoint a retired judge to hold a time-bound inquiry into the media reports regarding Walmart," Nath said.
The issue of retail giant Wal-Mart lobbying in the US for access to Indian markets has created a storm in Parliament during the past two days with parties demanding a time-bound probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a judicial panel to ascertain if bribes were paid.
UPA's outside supporters RJD and SP, which last week bailed out the ruling coalition on a vote on FDI in multi-brand retail, were among those demanding a thorough probe into reports that money was spent in India.
The demand for JPC probe was made by BJP, JD(U), AIADMK, Trinamool Congress, RJD and CPI while SP sought a judicial inquiry as they contended that the country had been put to shame. They insisted that the probe should be time-bound.
Wal-Mart had, in its disclosures to the US Senate, said it had spent $25 million over four years for various lobbying activities, including for gaining access to Indian markets.
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