The Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.(NYSE:WMT) Stores has reportedly suspended its Chief Financial Officer and other workers as it is probing into alleged violations of US anti-bribery regulations. This move is likely to hamper India’s attempt to open its domestic supermarket industry to foreign investment.
The largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart said last week that it has started internal investigations into bribery accusations in nations like China, India and Brazil.
An official from the Indian unit, who has requested anonymity, has said that the suspension is a protocol that is usually followed in investigations as such. The company cannot execute fair judgment when the people, who are being investigated, are present in office. It is not to be forgotten hat until the investigation finds anyone guilty, everyone is innocent.
A spokeswoman for the joint venture has confirmed suspensions and has mentioned that the venture is intended to conduct a complete and meticulous investigation. Bharti Enterprises is the partner of Wal-Mart in this venture.
Indian officials are also probing into claims that Wal-Mart has violated foreign exchange regulations while putting down an investment of $100 million in a domestic unit that is owned by its wholesale joint-venture associate.
Opposition parties in India and allies within the Congress party in New Delhi are opposed to letting international giants like Wal-Mart into the retail industry. They believe that doing so would drive small traders out of business.
After a number of delays, the government has eventually allowed foreign direct investment in the segment in September, with a view to revive stalled reforms and help halt a slip in economic development.
The Indian parliament opened its winter session on Thursday. Opposition politicians have demanded a debate and vote on the decision of policy. They have also threatened to stop parliamentary proceedings if their demands are not met.