Nirmala meets HAL CMD, 3 Service Chiefs in Parliament

Nirmala meets HAL CMD, 3 Service Chiefs in Parliament

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday met Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan in the Parliament House complex along with the three Service Chiefs.

However, little is known on what transpired in the meeting as the defence ministry officials are tight-lipped.

Without any elaboration, a source said Sitharaman was keen to sort out the issue.

The Bengaluru-based defence public sector unit is in the eye of a raging political controversy after the Defence Minister said in the Lok Sabha that her ministry placed orders worth close to Rs one lakh crore to the HAL.

This triggered a war of words between Sitharam and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who accused the Defence Minister of lying to the Parliament.

Sitharaman later clarified that between 2014 and 2018, HAL had signed contracts worth Rs 26,570.8 crore with the Defence Ministry whereas contracts worth Rs 73,000 crore are in the pipeline.

HAL, on the other hand, claimed it took an overdraft of Rs 962 crores for paying salary and continue with its day-to-day business as the company has negative cash in hands. The main culprit is Indian Air Force which didn't pay its due of Rs 14,500 crore.

With anticipated collection up to March, HAL said the cash position was expected to improve and orders for 83 Light Combat Aircraft MK-1A and 15 Light Combat Helicopters are in advanced stages.