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Cash-strapped HAL takes Rs 962-crore overdraft

The company’s clarification on its cash crunch comes after a media report stated that it had borrowed nearly Rs 1,000 crore “to pay salaries to its 29,000 employees.”

Cash-strapped state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Sunday said it had taken an overdraft of Rs 962 crore.

“With anticipated collection up to March, the cash position is expected to improve. Orders for LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Mark 1A 83 and LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) 15 are in advanced stages,” said the city-based defence behemoth in a tweet from its official Twitter account.

The company also said its belated tweet on a Sunday night was in response to “the various media reports on HAL”.

The defence aerospace major, however, did not mention from whom or which bank the overdraft was taken and for what purpose.

The company’s clarification on its cash crunch is the wake of a media report in a national newspaper on Friday that it had borrowed nearly Rs 1,000 crore “to pay salaries to its 29,000 employees”.

Earlier on Sunday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dubbed a tweet by Congress President Rahul Gandhi against her statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday on IAF orders to HAL “a lie”.

“It’s a shame that the president of (the) Indian National Congress is spreading lies and misleading the country. The HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26,570.8 crore between 2014 and 2018 and contracts worth Rs 73,000 crore are in the pipeline,” Sitharaman she said in a tweet.

Sitharaman’s response came after Gandhi alleged through a tweet that she must either place documents before Parliament to prove her claim that the Modi government had given Rs 1-lakh crore worth of orders to HAL or resign.

“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 Raksha Mantri lied to Parliament,” Gandhi had tweeted earlier.

Meanwhile, Congress MP KC Venugopal on Monday submitted a notice to move a Privilege Motion against the Defence Minister for allegedly misleading the House on contracts given to HAL.

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