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Walmart lobbying issue rocks Parliament, again

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 - 1:34pm IST Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 - 2:07pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
The issue created uproar in the Rajya Sabha too which saw two adjournments with BJP members, supported by members of the Left parties and Trinamool Congress, raising the issue.

The Walmart lobbying issue rocked Parliament for the second day today, prompting government to declare that it had no hesitation in ordering a probe into reports that the retail giant had spent money to further its case in India.

"We have no hesitation in having an inquiry to get to the facts of the matter. We will announce further steps in the House today," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in the Lok Sabha seeking to douse the Opposition ire on the issue.

The government "views the reports (on Walmart) with the utmost concern," Nath said.

His statement came close on the heels of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding a time-bound judicial inquiry into the reports that Wal-Mart engaged lobbying firms to get entry into India and "spent money here".

The inquiry should be completed within 60 days and people should know who has been bribed and how much has he got, Sinha said amid cries of 'shame, shame' from the Opposition benches.

Noting that there have been "gross financial irregularities" in Wal-Mart leading to suspension of its Chief Financial Officer in India and seven other officers and a probe is on against them in the US, Sinha said "this has sullied the dignity of our country."

"These disclosures have made it clear that they have given money to people here to gain entry in India. An inquiry is going on in the US on this issue. But there is no inquiry in India. People have taken money and are sitting tight," the BJP leader said.

Trouble broke out when Speaker Meira Kumar asked members to associate themselves with Sinha and called Kamal Nath to respond. This led to Left and Trinamool Congress members, who had submitted adjournment notices on the issue, to storm the Well demanding that they too be allowed to speak.

The issue created uproar in the Rajya Sabha too which saw two adjournments with BJP members, supported by members of the Left parties and Trinamool Congress, raising the issue.


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