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India says retired judge to head probe on Walmart's lobbying spending

Published on Dec 12, 2012 5:20 PM
In this photograph taken on Sept 26, 2012, an Indian employee poses with a fish at a newly opened Bharti Wal-Mart Best Price Modern wholesale store in Hyderabad. Last week, the government won two key parliamentary votes for its policy to allow in foreign supermarkets as part of its push to revive the faltering economy. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India on Wednesday announced the appointment of a retired judge to probe spending by US supermarket chain Walmart on lobbying in Washington to ease access to foreign markets, including India.

Walmart, in a disclosure report to the US Senate, said it had spent US$25 million (S$30.5 million) over four years on lobbying, including issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".

The report has sparked a political ruckus in New Delhi with opposition lawmakers, who are against Walmart's entry into India, calling for an inquiry into whether any money was spent by the supermarket chain in India.

"The government will appoint a retired judge to hold a time-bound inquiry into the media reports regarding Walmart," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in the lower house of the parliament.

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