NEW DELHI: Stepping up the Congress’s attack on the Centre over HAL‘s reported cash crunch, senior party leader Ahmed Patel on Monday alleged that the government had not paid the aerospace major for delivered products, but paid foreign vendors like Dassault for products yet to be delivered.

The Congress and the BJP-led NDA government are involved in a war of words over the financial condition of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

“Very disturbing that Government has not paid HAL for products that have been delivered but paid foreign vendors like Dassault for products that are not yet delivered!,” Patel said in a tweet.

“As a result HAL is a broke & is borrowing money to pay salaries. Is this Make in India? (sic),” he said.

The Congress has been targeting the government, alleging that it denied HAL an offset contract under the Rafale fighter jets deal with France, a charge the government has denied.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has accused the Congress of not supporting HAL during its rule and asserted that the government is now strengthening the defence public sector undertaking.

Patel’s attack comes a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman “lied” in Parliament that government orders worth Rs one lakh crore were provided to HAL, while demanding that she should either place the documents in support of her statement in the House or resign.

Sitharaman hit back at the allegation, saying it was a matter of “shame” that the Congress chief was “misleading” the country, without fully understanding the issue.

The war of words between the opposition party and the government was triggered after a media report claimed that grappling with low finances, HAL was forced to borrow Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees for the first time in years.



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