The employees, some of who met Congress president Rahul Gandhi before they addressed the media in the national capital on January 10, alleged that NDA government had contrived a conspiracy to “bleed and shut down” the state-run aerospace major.
They also demanded that the government give HAL the contract for making the remaining tranche of 90 Rafale aircraft, not as offset partners, but under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) route.
Sources in HAL told TOI that two of the three persons who addressed the media — S Renuka and Vijay Kumar — were among those chargesheeted by the HAL management on Sunday.
TOI has learnt that the employees have been granted a week to present their cases, after which the management can either drop the charges or set up a departmental enquiry against them.
The controversy over HAL being unceremoniously elbowed out of the Rafale aircraft deal to accommodate Reliance Defence has led to much political warfare as well as an outcry from current and former employees of the aerospace major, who have emphasised HAL is a fully capable aerospace manufacturer.
In their media address in Delhi, employees accused defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “attempting to build a false narrative” that HAL is incapable of building the Rafale fighter jet. Workers also said India could not have won its wars without HAL and faulted Sitharaman for making statements about the PSU without once having visited any HAL facility in her tenure as defence minister.
They also said that while Sitharaman’s claim in Parliament — that HAL received contracts of Rs 26,570 crore from the government between 2014-18 — was correct, it was far lower than the amount of workload HAL needed to sustain itself.
They also alleged that the government, instead of providing funds to a strategic national security major, drew over Rs 5000 crore from the HAL reserves.