Walmart Stores Inc has 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.
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.
CVC had started the inquiry in October following the newspaper report which said the US retail giant had spent millions of dollars – mostly in small payouts of $5 to $200 – to bribe government officials in India to obtain Customs clearances and permission to open and run stores.
The Bentonville-based giant, which operates a chain of wholesale stores in India, was mired in corruption allegations in 2011 when it emerged that its Mexico unit had bribed government employees to help the company’s biggest overseas subsidiary grow faster.