Former HAL chief contradicts defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman

Narendra Modi government seems to be pushing towards deep troubles with regard to infamous Rafale deal. Every attempt of the government to defend its stand, leading into much more serious troubles.

A day after the defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman came out in support of the government’s decision to keep out state-run public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), from the ambit of the deal with France,  T Suvarna Raju, who headed HAL till as recently as September 1, 2018, has practically contradicted her version.

He asserted that the Rafale fighter jets could have been built by HAL in India, “had the government managed to close the original negotiations” with Dassault Aviation. “When HAL can build a 25-tonne Sukhoi-30, a fourth-generation fighter jet that forms the mainstay of the air force, from raw material stage, then what are we talking about? We could have definitely done it (built the Rafale fighter jets),” he added.

Denying Sitaraman’s version that HAL had itself withdrawan from the race during UPA regime it self, he said that HAL had actually signed a work-share contract with the French company. He even went to the extent of questioning the attitude of Modi regime, asking “why the Union government was not putting out the files in public”.

Earlier on September 13, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had claimed that HAL “did not have the required capability to produce” Rafale fighter jets. Congress President Rahul Gandhi reacted to the report, saying Sithararam had been “caught lying again” and must resign. “The RM (Rafale Minister) tasked with defending corruption has been caught lying again. The former HAL Chief, TS Raju, has nailed her lie, that HAL didn’t have the capability to build the Rafale. Her position is untenable and she must resign,” he tweeted.

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