Govt agrees to probe by retd judge into Walmart lobbying LS adjourned four times, now on coal block issue

NEW DEHLI (VIRENDER KHAGTA)Under pressure from Opposition parties to come clean on the charges of US retail giant Walmart spending money in India to lobby for 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, the Government today agreed to get the matter probed by a retired judge.

As soon as proceedings in the Lok Sabha commenced this morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath announced government’s decision to order the inquiry and report the results back to the Parliament as early as possible.

“Today, I would like to inform the House that the Government will appoint a retired judge to hold an inquiry into the media reports concerning Walmart. The inquiry will be time bound and the results will be communicated to the House as early as possible,” Nath said with members of the Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party asking whether the judge would be of Supreme Court or High Court.

“I have heard your suggestions and have no hesitation in having an inquiry by a retired judge,” Nath told the Lok Sabha which remained paralysed for most part of the day except for 45 minutes when some questions were taken up during the Question Hour.

The ruckus today was credit to the members of the BSP who kept asking the Government to report the status of de-allocation of coal blocks. It all started during the Question Hour when BSP chief in Lok Sabha Dara Singh Chauhan sought to know the status of the matter. The first adjournment happened till noon after which the House could not get into order.

When the Lok Sabha reassembled at 12 noon, BSP MPs rushed into the well of the House asking for the de-allocated coal blocks to be made public. They forced the adjournment until 2 pm when the House again saw a forced disruption till 3 pm and finally for the day.

On the Walmart issue, the parties had yesterday demanded the setting up of a JPC or an independent probe by a judge.

While the BJP was seeking a JPC probe, the CPM demanded a judicial investigation in a time-bound manner. The CPM also referred to how Walmart had estimated the current worth of India’s multi-brand retail market at $ 50 billion, set to go up to $ one trillion by 2020.

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