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Rafale Row: Rahul Challenges Sitharaman To Prove Order Given To HAL Or Resign

HARSH RANJAN | 2
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| January 6 , 2019 , 17:24 IST

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday challenged  Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to prove her claim that the Modi government has given Rs 1 lakh crore worth of orders to defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Rahul also asked Nirmala to resign from the post if she fails in proving her statement.

Sitharaman made the claims in the Lok Sabha on Friday about procurement orders worth Rs. 1 lakh crore for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL.

Gandhi took to Twitter to question her claims, tagging a media report that said: “no actual order has been placed”.

Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi said, “When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies to cover up the first one. In her eagerness to defend the PM’s Rafale lie, the RM (Defence Minister) lied to the Parliament."

“Tomorrow (Monday), RM (Sitharaman) must place before Parliament documents showing Rs 1 lakh crore of government orders to HAL. Or resign,” he added.

The allegations came after media reports claimed HAL, grappling with low finances, had been forced to borrow money to pay its employees' salaries. 

Media reported, the process of ordering has been started, no actual orders have been placed yet. HAL is yet to comment on the matter.

The Congress alleges that the government had been giving short shrift to HAL to favour Anil Ambani's rookie defence firm, which is receiving an offset contract with Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the Rafale jet fighter.

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The government has entered a 36-aircraft deal with Rafale, which the Congress alleges, is far overpriced compared to the 126-aircraft deal negotiated by the UPA government, to help Mr Ambani's firm. Under the UPA deal, HAL was expected to manufacture the fighter planes in India.

Both the government and Anil Ambani have rejected the allegations.