India

Cash-strapped HAL takes ₹962-crore overdraft for the first time

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

NH Web Desk

Cash-strapped state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Sunday, January 6, said it had taken an overdraft of ₹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 on Friday that it had borrowed nearly ₹1,000 crore "to pay salaries to its 29,000 employees".

Earlier in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi dared Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to place documents in Parliament to prove that the Government had placed orders worth Rupees one lakh Crore with the psu.

“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 RM lied to Parliament. Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of Govt orders to HAL,” the Congress president tweeted on Sunday.

Two days after Sitharaman made the claims in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to question her claims, tagging a media report that said "no actual order has been placed". Prove the claim or resign, demanded Rahul Gandhi.

The same day when the Raksha Mantri ( RM) Nirmala Sitharaman was passionately defending the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha and rebutting charges that the Modi Government was giving HAL a shabby deal, the HAL management revealed that for the first time in decades it had to arrange for an overdraft to pay salary to its employees.

HAL Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) R Madhavan had told the media in Bengaluru that while HAL was always a cash rich company, its cash in hand had gone into negative. The CMD also revealed that the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard owed the company ₹15,700 Crore. The company’s monthly spend on paying salary to its 29 thousand employees is ₹358 Crore.

The Indian Air Force, HAL’s biggest buyer, has not paid the company since September, 2017 and already owes HAL ₹14,500 Crore, the CMD added.

with IANS inputs

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Published: 7 Jan 2019, 8:45 AM