During the 13 days that the BJP government headed by AB Vajpayee was in power in 1996, it offered a “sovereign” counter-guarantee to the improper clearance of the Enron project – an extraordinary fast-tracking of a project by a government that must surely have had other things on its mind.
Which is why, one surmises, the BJP knows a thing or two when it claims that the money that Wal-Mart disclosed as expenditure on lobbying was, in fact, a “benign form of bribery” to grease the tracks to allow the FDI-in-retail provision to sail through.
If Wal-Mart is distrusted today, the retail giant has only itself to blame. As this New York Times investigative report established, when faced with allegations of bribery in Mexico to win market dominance, Wal-Mart shut down an investigation and hushed up the matter More egregiously, Wal-Mart has been part of an effort by large US companies and trade groups to water down the provisions of the 1977 law, which prohibits US companies from offering fees or gifts to foreign officials to advance corporate interest.
Bal Thackeray with Rebecca P Mark-Jusbasche, former Vice-Chairman, Enron.
Venky Vembu: From Enron to Wal-Mart: the dirty business of ‘lobbying’