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Ex-judge to probe Walmart ‘lobbying’

New Delhi, Dec. 12: The Centre today said it would appoint a retired judge to probe allegations that Walmart spent millions of dollars on lobbying to enter Indian markets.

“I would like to inform the House that the government would appoint a retired judge for an inquiry into the media reports about Walmart. We will make it a time-bound probe so that the House is informed about the results as early as possible,” parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told the Lok Sabha today, following Opposition clamour over the issue.

The minister, however, did not clarify if the probe would be conducted by a former Supreme Court or high court judge. He also did not mention the time within which the probe has to be completed.

Nath said the details would soon be worked out after consultation with the members of the House.

The minister’s announcement pacified the Opposition for some time. But BSP members took up the issue of corruption in allocating coal blocks, which stalled the House for the day.

According to reports, the retail major said it spent close to $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on lobbying US lawmakers, including on issues related to “enhanced market access for investment in India”.