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Vyapam scam: After AAP, Congress demands Supreme Court monitored CBI probe

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New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the deaths of more than 40 people connected with the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, adding the matter needs to be investigated thoroughly and impartially.

“A Supreme Court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe is needed (in the matter). There is no bar on it even as the Special Investigating Team (SIT) is already probing the case,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference here.

The Madhya Pradesh Police’s Special Investigating Team (SIT) was not doing enough to unearth the truth and the case should now be transferred to the CBI, he said.

Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party too demanded on Sunday that the Supreme Court oversee the SIT’s probe into the scam after a television reporter covering the scam died in Madhya Pradesh under mysterious circumstances.

The Congress also accused Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of “misleading the people and parroting his old line” on the demand to get the case investigated by an impartial investigative agency.

The admission and recruitment racket in the Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Vyapam) or the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board apparently involves politicians, officials and businessmen.

More than 40 people associated with the scam have died since 2013 – either in mysterious circumstances or have committed suicides.

“We want the truth to come out. Justice should prevail. We all must join our heads and hands so that justice is served to the victims,” Surjewala said.

The Congress leader also condoled the death of Akshay Singh, an Aaj Tak TV channel’s journalist, and Arun Sharma, dean of a medical college in Madhya Pradesh, connected with the scam probe, since Saturday.

(IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)