SC moved for copy of Wal-Mart lobbying report

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 13:20 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) A petitioner Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to direct the government to get an authenticated copy of global supermarket chain Wal-Mart's report on spending about $25 million or Rs.125 crore on lobbying in the US to enter the Indian market.

Petitioner M.L. Sharma cited newspaper reports allegedly based on the lobbying disclosure report by the multi-brand retail giant which said that in the last quarter that ended Sep 30, Wal-Mart spent $1.65 million on various lobbying activities in the US, which included "discussions related to FDI in India".

Sharma, an advocate, mentioned the matter before the apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave for an early hearing but the court said it would take it up in the normal course.

The petition said the Wal-Mart lobbying report's copy or an inquiry could disclose the "name of the member of parliament who had been induced/benefited" through such lobbying.

The "lobbying for securing FDI approval in parliament via alluring members of parliament is not only a political conspiracy but a bribe in India" and calls for action and directions of this court, the petition said.

Sharma said it was incumbent upon the government, both legally and morally, to get hold of an authenticated copy of Wal-Mart lobbying report but contended that it may not do so unless the apex court issued directions.

After getting the report, the government should submit it before the court for consideration and possible initiation of action against those who had benefited from such lobbying, he said.

"Lobbying is not an offence in the US but it is a bribe in India," the petition said.

"No one has any constitutional power or immunity to pollute our parliamentary system directly or indirectly," the petition said.

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