Graft In­quiry: Wal­mart Gets Lim­ited Re­prieve Against CVC

HC says crim­i­nal com­plaint can’t be filed against co till next date of hear­ing

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Ra­sul.Bailay@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Wal­mart Stores Inc won a lim­ited re­prieve from Delhi High Court last week, hav­ing ap­proached it over the Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion (CVC) seek­ing to ini­ti­ate crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against the lo­cal unit of the re­tail gi­ant for al­legedly de­lay­ing an in­quiry into pos­si­ble bribery.

In his April 5 in­terim or­der, Jus­tice Ra­jiv Sa­hai End­law said “no crim­i­nal com­plaint as threat­ened be filed against the pe­ti­tioner/its of­fi­cials till the next date of hear­ing”. The case is listed for May 5. The Story So Far

Wal­mart starts anti-bribery pro­gramme & in­ves­ti­gates pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tion of US laws

Sus­pends CFO and le­gal team as part of in­ter­nal probe Stalls fur­ther ex­pan­sion of stores pend­ing the probe CVC ini­ti­ates probe against al­leged bribery by Wal­mart

Bharti and Wal­mart split. Wal­mart ac­quires cash-and-carry busi­ness

Wal­mart told the court it had been co­op­er­at­ing with the in­quiry even though it doesn’t be­lieve CVC has ju­ris­dic­tion over the mat­ter. The court or­der sought to clar­ify this, while adding that the ori­gin of the mat­ter — a news­pa­per re­port – was a cru­cial fac­tor.

The rel­e­vant sec­tion of the CVC Act em­pow­ers the agency to in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints against ex­ec­u­tives un­der the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act, it said. How­ever, the sum­mons of Oc­to­ber 29, 2015, “does not re­fer to any com­plaint but toKar­natakaal­le­ga­tion­schiefof­bribe-min­isry of­terIn­di­anSid­dara­ma­ia­hof­fi­cial­is­by­faced­pe­ti­tion­er­with­al­lega-re­port­ed­tion­si­nofthe­favour­ingWal­lStreethisJour­nal.“good’son,Pri-Dr maYathin­dra,fa­ci­ethat­wouldinthe ten­dered­not­con­sti­tute­con­tracta ‘com­plaint’”.given­bythe state’s premier Victoria

TheHospi­talorder­to­said­se­tuptheaCTCVCand­hadMRIin­scan-a March­n­ing29lablet­terinits premises.“askedthe chief ex­ec­u­tiveSid­dara­ma­ia­hof­fi­cer(CEO)ha­sof­made­thep­e­ti­tioner­i­ta­pointto (Wal­mart­keep­hisIn­di­aelderPvt­sonLtd)Rakesh,to­fur­nish­whoover-the in­for­ma­tion­seeshis­con­stituen­cy­men­tionedVaruna,there­inoutandof threat­enedthe­lime­light,thep­e­ti­tion­erde­spite­hiswith­at­temptscrimi-to nal­be­caseapow­er­fornon-bro­ker.com­pli­anceTh­esec­ondthere­of­son”.Dr

CVCYathin­dra,had­startedarank­thes­tu­dentin­quiryin­in­hisOcto-10th ber­stan­dard­fol­low­ing­whothes­tud­ied­news­pa­per­me­dicinere­por­ton which­mer­it­saidandtherun­sUShis­re­tai­lown­giant­di­ag­nos­tichad spent­cen­trem­il­lion­sinBen­galuru,of­dol­lar­shas–shunned­most­lyinthe small­pub­lic­pay­out­seyetillof now$5toand$200is–famed­to­bribefor gov­ern­mentstrict­ly­fol­lowingof­fi­cial­stax­in­rules.In­di­aYathin­dra­toob­tain Cus­toms­said:“Iwas­cle­ar­ances­no­taware Iand­should­per­mis-not­bid sion­for­toth­isopen­con­tract.an­drunIf­s­tores.itiswrong, I shall

A re­sign­per­son­fromwith­the­knowl­edge­com­pany.” of de­vel­op­ments“Itis­sad­saidthatWal­mart­suchaper­son­had­late­ly­hasbe-now en gotin­dulging­caugh­tininthis­de­lay­ingkind­ofa thing.tac­tics,He “com­pelling”may­have­been­the­un­wit­tinglyanti-cor­rup­tion­brought watch­dogin­toit,” toLeg­isla­tive­con­sid­erassem­blyreg­is­teringop­posi-a crim­inal­tion­lead­er­com­plaint.Ja­gadishVig­i­lanceShet­tar­toldCom-ET. mis­sioner“But,whenTM BhasintheCM’scould­son­is­not­in­volved,bere- ached de­spite re­peated calls to his of­fice.

A Wal­mart In­dia spokesper­son said the com­pany wouldn’t com­ment on the case. “As you may be aware, the mat­ter is sub ju­dice and hence it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for us to com­ment on this,” the per­son said. “Wal­mart is com­mit­ted to op­er­at­ing in a re­spon­si­ble and le­gal man­ner, wher­ever we do busi­ness. And com­pli­ance with anti-cor­rup­tion laws in the US and all in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in­clud­ing In­dia is a key pri­or­ity.”

The Ben­tonville-based gi­ant, which op­er­ates a chain of whole­sale stores in In­dia, was mired in cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in 2011when it emerged that its Mex­ico unit had bribed gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees to help the com­pany’s big­gest over­seas sub­sidiary grow faster. The Mex­ico scan­dal prompted Wal­mart to re­view and strengthen its anti-cor­rup­tion com­pli­ance pro­gramme in var­i­ous coun­tries in­clud­ing In­dia. Wal­mart shifted its fo­cus from do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try to seek­ing out pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tions of the For­eign­nat­u­ral­lyCor­rupt­thetenderPrac­ticeswill­beAct,madeaUSin law­suchthat­awaypro­hibit­sasto­favourAmer­i­can­him.Welist­ed­sus­com­pa­niespect­thatth­is­fromisaclear­brib­ing­case­of­gov­ern-par­tial­men­ti­ty­by­of­fi­cial­s­theCMabroad.to­hisson. We want the

Wal­mart­ten­derto be­sub­se­quent­ly­can­celledan­dun­woun­dan­im­par­it­s­tialtiesin­quiry­with con­duct­ed­part­nerBhar­ti­in­toit.”En­ter­pris­esCon­gress­inOc­to­berold-timers2013.haveCur­rently,have­exWal­mart­pressed sim­i­lar­run­sthe­views,whole­sale-with­form­er­store chainKPCCas pres­i­denta­fully-ownedBJa­nard­han­sub­sidiary. Bhar­tiPoo­jarymerged­stat­ing:theEasy­day“TheCM’schain­sonin Mayshould2015notwith­haveKishore­been in­volvedBiyani’s inFu-a ture­gov­ern­men­tGroup. con­tract.”

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