Congress President Rahul Gandhi will be meeting employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru on 13 October. The meeting comes at a time when Rahul is leading the Congress charges against the Narendra Modi government claiming that the Rafale deal was taken away from HAL and given to Reliance Defence.
The meeting is likely to put more pressure on the Centre which is facing allegations over the controversial multi-billion Rafale fighter jet deal.
Rahul has been asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain why businessman Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence was chosen over State-run HAL as the offset partner of French firm Dassault Aviation. He has also been claiming that due to the deal being given to Reliance, several employment opportunities have been lost.
"The money which belonged to the youth and IAF was snatched from them and put in Ambani's pocket. HAL has been making aircraft for the past 70 years, it made MiG, Sukhoi and Jaguar. The youth should pay attention. Anil Ambani has not made an aircraft all his life. He floats a company just 10 days before and gets the contract," he had said.
He had claimed under the previous UPA government, the deal would have gone to HAL. The thinking behind it was that fighter jets will be made here, it will generate employment, ensure technology transfer and the Air Force will be strengthened. Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister and the Rs 526-crore aircraft is bought for Rs 1,600 crore," he had claimed.
The Reliance group has been rejecting the charge that the current government was involved in the deal with Dassault, the French company which makes the Rafale fighter aircraft.