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Why Modi in Hurry to Get New CBI Director, Asks Congress

The former Union Minister also demanded restoration of "77 days" of Verma's tenure lost after he was divested of his power

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Raul Maino
Rahul Gandhi (Twitter)

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed high-powered select committee met to decide the fate of CBI Director Alok Verma, the Congress on Thursday alleged the BJP government, afraid of a probable probe into the “Rafale scam”, is in a “hurry” to find a successor to Verma.
The committee met following the Supreme Court reinstating Verma as the CBI Director who was divested of all his powers by the Modi government in October.

The panel comprising Modi, CJI nominee Justice A.K. Sikri and Leader of the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha, Congress’ Mallikarjuna Kharge, are scheduled to meet again later on Thursday.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who has been attacking Modi over the Rafale deal, fired fresh salvos at the Prime Minister over the meeting.

“Why is the Prime Minister in such a tearing hurry to sack the CBI chief? Why will he not allow the CBI chief to present his case in front of the selection committee? Answer: Rafale,” tweeted Gandhi, who post the apex court verdict had claimed that “the truth of Rafale will destroy Modi”.

Subsequently, in a media conference during the day, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma also questioned Modi’s “tearing hurry” to look for Verma’s successor and called for a probe into the circumstances leading to Verma’s divesting of powers as the CBI Director in October.

Why Modi in hurry to get new CBI Director, asks Congress. Wikimedia

“Despite the Supreme Court categorically stating that Verma’s removal was illegal, the Modi government is trying to brazen it out. An arrogant Prime Minister thinks he is neither accountable to Parliament nor to the law of the land.

“Why is there a panic in the government, what is the Prime Minister worried about, what is he doesn’t want the CBI to look into? Removal of Verma, raiding of CBI offices, removal of files, all that needs to be investigated.

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“The government can’t and will not probe the events of the night of October 23-24,” said Sharma, adding that an independent committee be constituted to probe all that.

“The Prime Minister is in a hurry and looking for a successor to Verma and give a message that though the Supreme Court has restored Verma, the Prime Minister will not allow him to function and will name a successor to make the CBI Director lame duck…that is the intent,” he claimed.

“The Chief Vigilance Commissioner, who ought to have resigned, will now recommend Verma’s successor to the high-powered panel. There will be no justice, a handpicked nominee of the Prime Minister will be put in office so that all the wrongdoings of this government are covered and a pliant Director, who will be obliged to the Prime Minister, will officiate,” added Sharma.

The former Union Minister also demanded restoration of “77 days” of Verma’s tenure lost after he was divested of his power. (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)