In the wake of reports that Walmart paid for lobbying to get access to India, BJP today demanded a fair probe be conducted to find out the names of recipients and insisted that till this is done the retail giant should not be allowed to set up shops here.
"The cat is out of the bag and the proof is properly documented. Walmart has said in its lobbying disclosure report that it has been paying since 2008 for access for favourable market condition in India and Rs 125 crore has been spent," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Speaking to reporters, he demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself come clean on the issue. Prasad had raised the matter in Rajya Sabha today.
"BJP wants a fair investigation into the issue. Lobbying is nothing but a benign form of bribery," he said.
The party also demanded that till the results of the probe come out, Walmart should not be allowed to set up shop here despite the "manipulative majority" managed by the government during the FDI in retail debate and voting.
The party wanted to know who in the dispensation was lobbying here for Walmart.
Prasad demanded names of the recipients of Rs 125 crore spent by Walmart for lobbying in India be made public.
"If Walmart can disclose to the US Senate on lobbying money, then India should exert pressure on it to reveal the names of recipients here," Prasad said.
Oppn seeks independent probe into Walmart lobbying episode
The Walmart lobbying issue triggered a political storm with the BJP today demanding a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament and the CPI-M and SP joining it in seeking an independent probe into the "serious allegations" of bribery.
BJP said the Prime Minister should make a statement on the issue in Parliament as the reports coming out today were "serious" and raised questions on the country's image.
As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to USD 25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".
"BJP would like the PM to explain why he did not initiate inquiry and what he proposed to do now when it has become evident that multi-brand retail FDI has come on the shoulders of lobbying and bribery,"