The controversy over mega-billion Rafale fighter jet deal refuses to die down. With every passing day, new facts and statements are being made to either justify or slam the deal. Now, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd chairman R Madhavan has stated the reason as to why the aerospace company was not listed as the offset partner with the Dassault Aviation. Talking to reporters on Friday, Madhavan explained that the Narendra Modi government wanted to buy the combat jets quickly.
Hence, even though the HAL was ‘capable’ of production, but “the current government decided to purchase 36 aircraft separately as it was necessary to buy them as soon as possible,” he said.
“For the 36 (fighter jets), the question of production here (in India) does not arise,” he told reporters in Udaipur on Friday.
The defence deal may help the Indian Air Force in fulfilling the acute shortage of fighter jets, however, the politics and the upcoming Lok Sabha elections mean it won’t be a smooth sailing for the Reliance, the offset partner in the deal.
Recently, Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily had said that if his party was voted to power in the next Lok Sabha polls, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would be accommodated as an offset partner and Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence eased out of the Rafale deal.
Earlier, the Congress had alleged that the Narendra Modi government had misled the Supreme Court about the CAG report on Rafale deal. Later, the NDA government filed a new affidavit in before the top court seeking “correction” in the judgment that led to a controversy in the public domain. The Modi government moved the application seeking a correction with regard to two sentences in paragraph 25 of the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on December 14.
The Centre wants the Supreme Court to substitute the words – “and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (hereinafter referred to as PAC). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament and is in public domain” with “The report of the CAG is examined by the PAC. Only a redacted version of the report is placed before the Parliament and in public domain.”