New Delhi, January 7: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday rejected allegations put on her by Congress President Rahul Gandhi of "lying on Rs 1 lakh crore worth contracts being given to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited". Speaking in Lok Sabha today, Sitharaman stated, "I have received confirmation from HAL that contracts during 2014-18 worth Rs 26,570.80 crore have already been signed with HAL. Orders worth Rs 73,000 crore approx are in the pipeline." She also said that the doubts raised on her statement on HAL contracts were "incorrect and misleading". Nirmala Sitharaman Hits Back at Rahul Gandhi; Defence Minister Demands Apology From Congress President For 'Misleading The Nation' on HAL.
However, Rahul Gandhi, refusing to buy the Defence Minister's defence, tweeted a report saying HAL was borrowing Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries and that it has suffered the lowest cash balance in 14 years. "That HAL doesn’t have enough cash to pay salaries, isn’t surprising. Anil Ambani has Rafale. He now needs HAL’s brilliant talent pool to deliver on his contracts. Without salaries, HAL’s best engineers & scientists will be forced to move to AA’s venture," Gandhi wrote in his tweet today. Contrary to Nirmala Sitharaman's Claim in Lok Sabha, HAL Yet to Receive Orders Worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore?
Rahul Gandhi's tweet
That HAL doesn’t have enough cash to pay salaries, isn’t surprising.
Anil Ambani has Rafale. He now needs HAL’s brilliant talent pool to deliver on his contracts.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 7, 2019
Gandhi had sought Sitharaman's resignation as Defence Minister, claiming that she lied on contracts worth Rs 1 lakh crore being "signed" for the HAL. Sitharaman countered hin saying that these contracts were "in the pipeline".
She also demanded an apology from the Congress President. In another tweet, the Defence Minister had asked the Congress President to read the full report of The Times of India to which Gandhi referred while demanding Sitharaman’s resignation. She also asked the Congress president not to mislead the public and quoting an article even before reading it.