Launching a sharp attack on the central government over the Rafale jet deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday that the state-owned aircraft manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL, had made the fighter planes that dropped bombs on Pakistani soldiers during the Kargil war in 1999, but the government still sidelined the company.
“During the Kargil War, HAL aircraft dropped bombs on the Pakistan Army. HAL knows how to make aircraft. The talks were confirmed. HAL discussed with France’s Dassault to buy one aircraft for Rs 526 crore. After that, ‘Chowkidar’ became the Prime Minister. Soon after that, Prime Minister Modi visited france along with Anil Ambani. What happens next is that the Rs 526 crore aircraft now gets sold for Rs 1,600 crore. HAL is sidelined and Anil Ambani is made the offset partner. Anil Ambani never made an aircraft. HAL has been making aircraft for the last 70 years,” Rahul Gandhi said today at a rally in Madhya Pradesh.
The deal for the 36 fighter jets with france has turned into a huge political controversy in India. The Congress has been alleging that the company that manufactures Rafale jets, Dassault, chose Reliance Defence, owned by industrialist Anil Ambani, as an offset partner, overlooking the government-owned company that has expertise in the field. The party has been alleging that the French company was under pressure from the Indian government to pick Reliance.
The central government, the…