Raju, Rus­sia and Rafale

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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 work­share 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.

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