ED to soon issue notices in Wal-Mart investments probe

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon issue notices to American retail major Wal-Mart as part of its probe against the company's investment in an Indian firm for alleged violations of forex laws.

"The agency has received a communication from the RBI to probe the investments in this regard. Notices for want of documents with regard to financial investments and remittances will be issued by the Bangalore office of the agency," a source privy to the development said.

The agency, which has registered a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), will also ask the commerce ministry to furnish it with clearances that were given to the company to route the investment in 2010 in a subsidiary of Bharti ventures via a Mauritian arm, the source said.

The Rs 455.8 crore investment by Wal-Mart in Cedar Support Services Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharti Ventures, had come under attack from CPI Rajya Sabha member MP Achuthan, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier, saying it was "illegal" and flouted FDI rules.

Bharti Enterprises has, however, rejected the allegations that it had violated any rule in this regard. The company had said all the procedures were as per the "law of the land".

Investigating allegations, says Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has said it is investigating allegations of corrupt practices against it in markets, including India. "We have inquiries or investigations regarding allegations of potential FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) violations in a number of foreign markets... including but not limited to Brazil, China and India...," the company said in a statement.

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