As the issue of Walmart lobbying for access to Indian markets paralysed Parliament for the second day, the government said on Tuesday that it was ready for an inquiry.
The opposition parties have demanded a probe either by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a judicial commission to find out if “bribes” were paid in India.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told the Lok Sabha: “We have learnt from press reports of the reported disclosure by Walmart under the US laws of amounts spent by them on lobbying in various countries including India... The government views this with as much concern as all sections of the House and has no hesitation in having an inquiry (into) this inasmuch as it concerns India to get to the facts of the matter... We would announce further steps on this in the House.”
The parties seeking an inquiry included the RLD of Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh as well as the Samajwadi Party, which also supports the government. The SP advocated a time-bound judicial inquiry. The BJP, JD(U), AIADMK, Trinamool Congress, RJD and CPI called for a JPC probe.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met, the BSP, Trinamool Congress and Left members trooped into the well. Seeing the scale of disorder, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House within three minutes. The Lok Sabha was adjourned four times before it was adjourned for the day.
The BJP accused the BSP of helping the Congress and trying to ensure that there was no discussion on Walmart by trooping into the well in protest against the coal scam.