Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi after the latter accused her of lying in Parliament over procurement orders worth Rs 1 lakh crore for state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Sitharaman said it was a matter of “shame” that the Congress president was misleading the country on the issue. She also tweeted details of contracts awarded to HAL since 2014 when the BJP came to power.
“It’s a shame that the president of @INCIndia is misleading the nation. HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 cr [between 2014 and 2018] and contracts worth Rs 73000 cr are in the pipeline. Will @RahulGandhi apologise to the country from the floor of the house?” said a tweet from her office.
Gandhi had earlier claimed that “not a single rupee of the said Rs 1 lakh crore” had come to HAL. During a discussion on Rafale in Lok Sabha last week, Sitharaman had said the government was in the process of giving contracts worth Rs 1 lakh crore to HAL.
“When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one. In her eagerness to defend the PM’s Rafale lie, the defence minister lied to Parliament. Tomorrow she must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of orders to HAL, or resign,” Gandhi said.
“The Congress is shedding crocodile tears for HAL. The Congress government gave 53 waivers to HAL… We have given contracts worth Rs. 1 lakh crore,” the defence minister had said
She claimed that procurement orders included 83 LCA Tejas fighters orders worth Rs 50,000 crore, 15 Combat Helicopters worth Rs 3,000 crore, 200 more helicopter orders worth Rs 20,000 crore, 19 Dornier Transport Aircraft worth Rs 3,400 crore, helicopters worth Rs 15,000 crore and Aero engines worth Rs 8,400 crore.