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UPA Government to make statement on Wal-Mart lobbying report

UPA Government to make statement on Wal-Mart lobbying reportNew Delhi, Dec 11 : The UPA government is likely to make a statement on the Wal-Mart lobbying issue to break the deadlock in Parliament.

Both houses of Parliament were adjourned after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition demanded an investigation into the alleged spending in India by the global retail giant Wal-Mart for lobbying.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government was ready to respond on the matter, and appealed to the Opposition to let Parliament function.

Talking to media, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said: "In the US lobbying may be legal, but in India it is not. We want an independent probe in to the matter".

"This is very serious and important issue. Government should clarify this and there should be investigation from an independent body," he added.

Asserting that the Prime Minister should clarify on the issue, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said Wal-Mart should not be allowed to open its shop in India till the investigation is complete.

Prasad, who is the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, earlier said that lobbying was not allowed in India, and added that Wal-Mart indulged in bribery.

"It has been officially confirmed that Wal-Mart Company has indulged in lobbying in India, or in simple terms indulged in bribery. Lobbying is not allowed in India as per law. We raised the issue in the debate in the parliament. Doubts are being raised in various fields, which is why we stated inside and outside the Parliament that this entire matter must be probed. Why was this lobbying allowed?" asked Prasad.

"Now the fact of lobbying cannot be denied because they have accepted this in the American Senate that they have lobbied in India and spent money on it," he added.

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 lobbying by Wal-Mart in India disclosure comes just days after the Congress-led UPA Government won a vote in both houses of Parliament on its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in multi-brand retail. (ANI)