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Opposition wants Wal-Mart lobbying reports clarified

The issue of FDI in retail came to haunt the government again in Parliament with a united Opposition demanding an inquiry and reply from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on reports of Wal-Mart spending huge money to lobby for entry into the country\'s market.

Published: 10th December 2012 02:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2012 03:16 PM   |  A+A-

Rajya Sabha1PTI
By IANS

Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha Monday demanded a clarification on reports of Wal-Mart lobbying in the US to open the way for foreign equity in retail trade in India.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravishankar Prasad quoted newspaper reports on a lobbying disclosure report submitted by retail giant Wal-Mart in U.S., and said that since lobbying is illegal in India, this was a case of bribery.

"There was a long debate on FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail. All major newspapers today have reports that Wal-Mart, in its lobbying disclosure report, has said Rs.125 crore was spent on lobbying," Prasad said.

"In 2012 alone, they spent US$ three million in India. Lobbying is illegal in India. This is a case of bribery," he said.

The opposition member demanded halting the decision to allow FDI in retail and initiation of an inquiry into the case.

He was joined by members from other opposition parties, including the Left and Trinamool Congress.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla then said he would convey the matter to the minister concerned.

The irked opposition, though, continued shouting and demanding a clarification, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the upper house briefly for 10 minutes.

Last week, the decision to allow FDI in retail was put to vote in both houses of parliament, and passed.

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