Walmart lobbying disclosure: Oppn finds new reason to disrupt House

Walmart lobbying disclosure

In Rajya Sabha, Prasad, who is the BJP's deputy leader in the House, said, "Lobbying is illegal in India... This is bribe... The government should clarify who are the recipients... This raises serious questions on the entry (of FDI) in multi-brand retail... The entire matter should be put on hold and a probe should be carried out first to ascertain who all got money."

Outside Parliament, Prasad's party colleague Yashwant Sinha said, "It is a very, very serious issue. It has been raised in Rajya Sabha today. We propose to raise it in Lok Sabha tomorrow." Told that lobbying is not illegal in the US, Sinha said, "I know it is allowed in the US. But the laws of the two countries are different. Lobbying in the US does not mean corruption but in India, it does. That is the difference. There is illegality."

The CPM's Sitaram Yechury said in Rajya Sabha, "...Walmart itself is saying that it has spent the money. There are cases of corruption in the court. So government should inquire into it."

The entire opposition then sought an answer from the government and the Prime Minister on the "serious" issue, plunging the House into turmoil and leading to repeated adjournments. Significantly, DMK's Tiruchi Shiva too associated himself with the issue.

TMC and BJP leaders waved newspapers that had carried the reports, while CPM's P Rajeeve said there were reports that Walmart had invested in India even before FEMA had been amended. "This is a case of bribery," he said.

SP leader Mohan Singh said the "government should inquire into who are responsible for it or involved in it".

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