THE Rafale deal is likely to unmask many technocrats and officials in the days to come. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) could have built Rafale fighters in India had the government managed to close the original negotiations with Dassault and had actually signed a work-share contract with the French company, said T Suvarna Raju, who was heading HAL till last month. In a long interview Suvarna Raju concluded that HAL was competent enough to manufacture Rafale fighters by all means. Everybody was flabbergasted. What was the need to issue a statement regarding on Rafale fighters immediately after retirement? Raju is a career technocrat, who joined, grew and became CMD of HAL. This was not possible without the help of the forces that be at HAL. How and with whose help was he selected by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as CMD HAL is the interesting story. As sources disclosed, he reportedly took the help of the personal assistant of a former defence minister who struck the deal of Sukhoi-30 fighters with Russia. The PA of the former minister liaisons with a powerful Rajya Sabha MP from UP with Russian defence firms. Russian defence firms and vendors reportedly have very heavy stakes in HAL. The said PA introduced Raju to the then UP cadre IAS officer who happened to be the Chairman of PESB. It is alleged that everything was arranged. Raju was selected as No 1 candidate in the panel by PESB as per the plan. The Cabinet Committee cleared his name and he was appointed as CMD, HAL. Now read the statement of Raju after knowing the antecedents. One can easily understand the forces that work in defence deals.
VOL. 12 | ISSUE 7 | OCT 2018