Amidst the ongoing Rafale fighter jet dogfight between the government and the Opposition, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman R Madhavan released a statement that the aerospace and defence company was capable of producing Rafale fighter jets.
Madhavan added that to get quick delivery the central government bought 36 aircraft separately.
Talking to reporters on Saturday, Madhavan said, “The HAL was capable when the talks were ongoing but to get quick delivery the government bought 36 aircraft separately. If like earlier, 126 aircraft were to be made, some would have been made here and others would have been bought. Since now they have bought 36 there is no question of us making it. HAL is not involved; I would not like to comment anymore.”
The Rafale jet deal, signed on September 23, 2016, in the frame of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and France, has been on the boil over the last few months. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal.
The Congress has alleged that Narendra Modi government is buying the military aircraft from French company Dassault Aviation at a much higher price than what was being negotiated by the previous UPA government, which planned to procure 126 aircraft.
In its last hearing on November 14, the court had reserved the verdict. The government had defended the secrecy clause, claiming if revealed, it could compromise national security and even the parliament has not been informed about it.
The Supreme Court on December 14 dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt decision-making process in the deal. The top court said it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said that there is no need to conduct an investigation into details of Rafale pricing.
The fighter jet is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which security analysts believe can be a ‘game-changer’ for India’s Defence system.