Ruling Alliance in Maharashtra Demand Probe into Arnab Chats
The Congress demanded an investigation under the Official Secrets Act.
The ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra have demanded a probe in the purported chats between Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) head, Partho Dasgupta.
The Hindustan Times reported that National Congress Party (NCP) on Monday, 18 January, demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe, while the Congress demanded an investigation under the Official Secrets Act. The third partner in the alliance, Shiv Sena too demanded action, claiming there is a breach of the country's internal security.
Next Course of Action Soon: Maha Home Minister
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the next course of action will be decided on Tuesday, after a meeting with senior officials of the department. “The WhatsApp chat between Goswami and Dasgupta has gone viral. They have found to be discussing very sensitive information, be it Balakot or Pulwama. The question is, how did Arnab know about all this, and that too in advance? We are gathering all the information and a meeting is to be held tomorrow (Tuesday), after which the next course is going to be decided,” Deshmukh told reporters.
In the WhatsApp chats that were made public, Goswami is seen discussing the government’s plan to launch an airstrike on Pakistan’s Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack, three days before the Indian Air Force took action against a terrorist camp on 26 February 2019.
‘Mumbai Police Have Exposed Arnab’: NCP
NCP spokesperson said that the chats provided by the Mumbai police have exposed Arnab Goswami and Dasgupta. “It is extremely shocking and disturbing to know how issues related to national security have been used to gain TRP. The question also arises how Arnab (Goswami) was privy to such sensitive information. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has to identify the source and take action immediately. We want the matter to be probed by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC),” said NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase on Monday.
‘Who is the Mole in the Govt’: Congress
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that the offence is a part of criminal investigation as it is a violation of section 5 of the Official Secrets Act. “Goswami has received highly classified information, which he passed onto someone else (Partho Dasgupta). In fact, we don’t know if the information passed to how many more people. We need to know who is the mole in the government,” he said.
Threat to Internal Security: Shiv Sena
Shiva Sena leader and party’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said the chats are a threat to national security. “I think this is a threat to the country's internal security. Sometimes, such military secrets are not known to top officials. If a jawan is found to possess any such secrets or documents, he is court-martialled. Here, he (Arnab) knew that Balakot (airstrike) will happen. This means there is a breach of national security. What action will the country’s home minister and defence minister take on this? This is a matter concerning defence. We ask them, ‘will you court-martial him?’” Raut told reporters.
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