A day after defence minister Manohar Parrikar accused former prime ministers of compromising on country's "deep" assets the Congress has hit back asking him to give names.
"If the defence minister has evidence to prove that any ex-PM had compromised on national security, then he should make it public. If not, he should tender a public apology for levelling such grave charges," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said on Friday.
Other Congress leaders too challenged Parrikar to come out with names instead of making wild allegations.
"Manohar Parrikar must be more straightforward and clarify things. Otherwise this will lead to unnecessary complications," senior Congress leader PC Chacko said.
Parrikar had refrained from revealing any names while making this charge in an interview to the Hindi weekly Vivek on Thursday.
"You have to build deep assets. Deep assets are created over 20-30 years. Sadly, there were some prime ministers who compromised deep assets," Parrikar said while refusing to give source of information on the recent Coast Guard operation involving a boat from Pakistan.
"I am not going to disclose names. Many people know," he said when asked whom he was referring to.
Parrikar also hit out at the Congress for demanding evidence on the controversial Coast Guard operation against suspected Pakistani terrorists saying, "There was demand for giving proof (that it was a Pak terror vessel). Tomorrow, during such operations, we will take along a (media) cameraman and also the Congress spokesperson."
BJP leaders backed him over the allegation saying he was speaking in the best interests of the nation.
"The defence minister is an extremely responsible leader. The statement certainly has a lot of context," BJP leader GVL Narsimha Rao said.