The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has latched on to reports of Wal-Mart paying “suspected bribery” in India to attack Congress saying the party continues to “shame” India abroad while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was working hard to present a “shining India” to the world.
BJP alleged that bribes totalling millions of dollars were paid between 2007-12 by the world’s largest retailer to secure its entry in India, and suggested that they played a role in the then Congress-led UPA government enacting a law that opened the domestic retail market to international brands.
“Modi is presenting shining India to the world. But we continue to have scams of Congress era surface and it is damaging brand India. They have lost power but they continue to shame India abroad with their exploits. Congress is damaging brand India,” BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao told a press conference.
Congress had become synonymous with corruption and INC (Indian National Congress) for common people was India’s Naturally Corrupt party, he said.
Rao suggested that over Rs 125 crore spent by the US company in lobbying in India played a role in Congress changing its stand after party chief Sonia Gandhi had written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing concern over opening domestic retail market to global brands and asking him to put in place safeguards for local retailers.
“It is a legitimate question now if the money was spent in influencing Congress leaders,” he said.
Citing alleged scams during the Congress reign which had foreign links, he said, it has indulged in a “spate of corruption” during Rajiv Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi era and they were revealed by reports in foreign media.
Wal-Mart made “suspicious payments” towards “thousands of small bribes” totalling millions of dollars to local officials in India, according to a media report in the US.
The Wall Street Journal said in a report that Wal-Mart’s “suspected bribery” unearthed in India involved thousands of small payments to low-level local officials to help move goods through customs or obtain real-estate permits.