Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, January 6, accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying” by claiming that the NDA government gave procurement orders worth Rs. 1 lakh crore to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Congress Chief said that the minister should place the government orders given to HAL in the House on January 7 or resign.

Gandhi’s attack came a media report claimed that HAL, grappling with low finances, was forced to borrow Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees for the first time in years.

“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 lied to Parliament,” Gandhi tweeted along with the media report.

“Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of Govt orders to HAL. Or resign,” he said.

Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has not received a single order and had to take a loan to pay the salaries of its employees. He tweeted, “The Lying Defence Minister’s Lies Get Exposed! Defence Minister claimed that procurement orders worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore provided to HAL! HAL says Not a SINGLE PAISA has come, as Not a SINGLE ORDER has been signed! For the first time, HAL forced to take a loan of Rs 1,000 Cr to pay salaries.”

In her counter attack, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said , “It’s a shame that the president of Congress is misleading the nation. HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 Cr (Between 2014 and 2018) and contracts worth Rs 73000 Cr are in the pipeline.”

Sitharaman also shared the details of contract awarded to HAL since 2014 when the BJP came to power.

On January 5, Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “weakening” the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to help his “suit-boot” friend, PTI reported.

On the contrary, BJP-led NDA government accused the Congress of not supporting HAL during its rule and asserted that the government is now strengthening the defence public sector undertaking, PTI report added.

Congress have been locking horns with the government over Rafale deal, alleging that it denied the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) an offset contract under the Rafale fighter jets deal with France, a charge the government has denied. 

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