BJP demands time-bound judicial probe on Walmart lobbying issue

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 10:30 hrs

New Delhi: Despite the Centre making it absolutely clear that it was open to inquiry on the Walmart lobbying issue, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday asked the Congress-led UPA Government to order a judicial probe in connection with the case and see that the report is submitted within 60 days.

Sinha, who was the country's Finance Minister during the NDA regime, said the main point that arises here is the nature of probe that will be ordered in connection with this lobbying case.

"It is not only the question of being ready for a probe. The question is what kind of an investigation will be undertaken and within how many days will the probe be complete. Taking note of the sentiments of the house, they (government) are now saying that they are ready for a probe," said Sinha.

"My proposal was that the probe must be judicial and the report of it must be put forward within 60 days. This is my proposal and we would like to know whether the government agrees on this proposal or not," he added.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath earlier said that the government views the Walmart lobbying case with concern and has no hesitation in ordering an inquiry on this in as much as it concerns payments made in India.

"We have learnt from press reports of reported disclosure by Walmart under US laws of amounts spent by them on lobbying in various countries, including India. We want to get to the bottom of this. We are very deeply concerned about this and we take all steps to unearth all the facts in this regard. We would announce further steps on this inquiry in the house," he added.

Both houses of Parliament were earlier today adjourned following uproar over reports of lobbying by Walmart to gain entry into India.

The media report had claimed that Walmart had lobbied with US lawmakers for the last four years to facilitate their entry into the Indian retail market.

It claimed that the company had spent 25 million dollars as per a report submitted in US senate. The amount is equivalent to Rs. 125 crore.

The government won a vote in both houses of Parliament last week on its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail. 

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