'Give me 15 minutes with PM Modi for a debate on Rafale, the country will know the truth,' Rahul again said.
New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday continued his tirade against the BJP-led government over Rafale deal accusing it of “weakening HAL” and “destroying India’s strategic capabilities” to benefit businessman Anil Ambani.
Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament, Rahul Gandhi said, "The strategy of the government is -- weaken HAL, do not give it money, destroy India's strategic capability and give 'gift' to Anil Ambani."
Claiming that the Centre is “undermining HAL, the Congress chief alleged that while the government gave Rs 20,000 crore to Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale jets, even though it has not supplied a single aircraft, the dues amounting to Rs 15,700 crore to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd were not given.
Rahul also accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying in the Parliament” saying, “Defence Minister had earlier said that Rs 1 lakh crore was given to HAL. We challenged that and today she said that Rs 26,570.80 crore were given to HAL, Nirmala Sitharaman Ji lied in the Parliament.”
Asserting that the Congress will protect the HAL, Rahul claimed, "We are not going to allow Rs 30,000 crores of people's money to be taken by Anil Ambani because he is Narendra Modi's friend."
He, once again, challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a debate on the Rafale issue. "Give me 15 minutes with PM Modi for a debate on Rafale, the country will know the truth," he said.
Rahul Gandhi also asked PM Modi and Sitharaman to answer "did Air Force and Defence ministry senior officers object to your interference in Rafale deal?"
“Please answer in a "Yes or No," he said.
Earlier in the day, Rahul also alleged that the "best" engineers and scientists from cash-strapped HAL will be forced to move to the Anil Ambani group as the state-run aerospace major “doesn’t have enough cash to pay salaries.”
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said:
That HAL doesn’t have enough cash to pay salaries, isn’t surprising.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 7, 2019
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.#SaveHAL https://t.co/IaqgS3pyJ7
Gandhi said this while citing a report whereby cash-strapped HAL has taken loans to pay salaries to its employees.
(With inputs from agencies)