Brazil likely to suspend $324 million Covaxin deal with Bharat Biotech

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A man holding vaccine (Image: Pexels)
A man holding vaccine (Image: Pexels)

New Delhi : Brazil is likely to suspend a $324 million Covaxin deal that has mired President Jair Bolsonaro in accusations of irregularities.

The deal was set to buy 20 million dosage of Covaxin but things became hard after a whistleblower went public with alleged irregularities. According to a health official, he had alerted President about the concern.

Bolsonaro, whose popularity has faded as Brazil's COVID-19 death toll climbed past 500,000, has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was not aware of any irregularities. But thorny questions refuse to go away, and may pose problems for him ahead of next year's presidential vote.

Meanwhile, Brazil Health Minister Marcelo addressed a press conference and said that they will investigate the matter.

"According to the preliminary analysis of the CGU, there are no irregularities in the contract but, for compliance, the Health Ministry chose to suspend the contract," the ministry said in a statement.

Bharat Biotech has denied any allegation of wrongdoing with respect to vaccine supply, saying in an emailed statement that it adheres to the highest standards of compliance. The company's press representative didn't respond when asked why a payment would be routed through a Singapore-based company.