New Delhi: A day after Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel dashed off a letter to Defence Minister AK Antony questioning why the PSUs are being kept out of the bidding process for $ 3 billion aircraft deal, both sides are now sticking to their stand. The Defence Minster has asked his office to look into the issue raised by Patel.
Meanwhile, the Opposition has questioned the government's intentions in keeping public sector out of the deal.
However, the sources in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have said that the question raised by Patel about the $ 3 billion deal are invalid. They have said that the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), one of the PSUs mentioned by Patel in his letter is already burdened with pending projects.
Sensing a controversy within the ruling party, the BJP was quick to hit at the government.
Amongst the many controversies hitting the UPA-II, the defence deals too has embarrassed the government including Tatra truck deal and Augusta Westland VVIP chopper deal.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to travel Russia and China later in October. Sources have said he is likely to finalise some of the defence deals pertaining to these aircraft.
The NCP, which has frequently raised its head against what it calls the big brotherly attitude of the Congress has cornered the government once again.