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Rahul takes Rafale battle to HAL doors

IANS  |  Bengaluru 

Taking the Rafale battle to the doors of HAL, on Saturday said that the has "insulted, hurt and destroyed" the future of the public sector undertaking by depriving it of the offset contract with the French manufacturer

In an hour-long interaction with about 100 former and present employees of (HAL), who were directed by the management to keep away from it, he also questioned the credibility and the experience of the private company that got the Rs 30,000 crore offset contract.

Gandhi said firms such as HAL, and were the "temples of modern India" which were being "destroyed" by the that was indulging in corruption.

"A very senior person in the government has raised questions over the 'capacity' of I ask them as to what is the capacity of Anil Ambani's company that has got the contract? What exactly is the experience this person has (in aeronautics)? The HAL's capabilities are all in front of us. You (HAL) have built HF-24, MiGs, and Tejas. The public sector is the backbone of the country and the defence sector," Gandhi said.

He said it was "completely ridiculous" to say that does not have any experience. The person who got the contract has zero experience.

"Does have debt? No. But the person who got the contract has Rs 45,000 crore debt," he added.

Rahul said "You are the only company with the requisite experience to build that (Rafale). You are the people who built Tejas, MiG, How can anybody say that you are not experienced? The forces trying to take away your future are quite powerful, quite connected," he said, adding that concerted efforts would be needed to save HAL and other public sector companies.

"I have come to give a message that we are going to protect your future. We are going to fight for your rights. Rafale is your right. The decision (to give offset contract) should be done only on merit. Nobody in the world who thinks objectively and takes decisions on merit can take away the offset contract from HAL."

He said when the comes to power at the Centre its government would ensure that HAL got more orders to make "We will not allow this government or anyone to destroy HAL or take away orders from it.

Referring to the circular directing employees to keep away from the interaction with him, Gandhi said the management must have been under "pressure" from the government but "we are fighting for you too".

He said the HAL fraternity has been insulted and hurt. "Their hard work of the last 78 years, their patriotism, has been insulted and questioned by the government through the The gentleman who has got the contract has worked only for 12 days. The temples of modern are being destroyed," the said.

Taking a jibe at the media, he said: "You (HAL employees) called me here because you feel the media is not listening to your voice. But media does not listen even to us these days. The media bosses don't want these types of conversations."

Gandhi said he was 100 per cent with the employees of the defence public sector undertakings and told them they were free to call him anytime 24/7 to voice their grievances.

Replying to questions by reporters on saying that the had no role in deciding the offset partner, the Congress said the was "lying".

"The former of (Francois Hollande) has said that the told him to give the contract to Ambani. Documentation has also come out that has said this."

Before interacting with the employees, Gandhi said "We are in opposition but if there is something we can do to help you we would like to do it. When we come to government we would like to do even more aggressively."

Mirajuddin, a former trade union of HAL, said the company was capable of manufacturing Rafale in India and they were agitated over the offset contract going to a private company.

"We felt let down...we were not only surprised but felt insulted. We are not begging. We are demanding that our rights based on merit should be protected," he said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 18:54 IST