Probe purported chats between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta: MVA partners
- The NCP demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the leaked WhatsApp chats, the Congress sought a probe under the Official Secrets Act and the Shiv Sena said demanded action against Arnab Goswami for breach of internal security.
Ruling allies of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) have demanded action and probe in the purported chats between Republic TV editor in chief Arnab Gowami and Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) former head Partho Dasgupta.
The NCP on Monday demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the matter whereas Congress demanded an investigation under the Official Secrets Act. Attacking the Centre over the leaked WhatsApp chat, the Shiv Sena said that it was a breach of the country's internal security and demanded action against Goswami.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said next course of action will be decided on Tuesday after a meeting with senior officials of the department.
“The WhatsApp chat between the duo (Goswami and Dasgupta) has gone viral. They have found to be discussing very sensitive information, be it Balakot or Pulwama. The question is, how Arnab (Goswami) came to 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.
A political storm is brewing over the transcript of a purported WhatsApp conversation between Goswami and Dasgupta over Balakot air strikes and Article 370 revocation, which has led to allegations of collusion and illegal access to highly classified information. It appears that Goswami was privy to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s plan to launch an air strike on Pakistan’s Balakot in retaliation against the Pulwama terror attack, three days before the Indian Air Force took action against a terrorist camp on February 26, 2019. The 500-page plus long transcript of a purported WhatsApp conversation went viral after it was submitted by the Mumbai Police before the court as part of its charge sheet in the case of misuse of TV rating point (TRP).
“The Mumbai police has recently exposed the chats between 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.
He said that Goswami had been at the forefront to malign the image of the Mumbai police and also the MVA government in Maharashtra. In his TV debates, he tried to give a communal angle to the Palghar incident (in which two Hindu monks were lynched over rumors). Sushant Singh Rajput (Bollywood actor) death case was blown out of proportion and a false narrative was set. “All this seems to have been done with the sole intention to destabilise the state MVA government,” he said.
He said that the Narendra Modi government and the BJP seem to have gone completely silent on the case. Union home minister Amit Shah should come forward and laud the investigation of the Mumbai police, he insisted.
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 the information passed to how many more people. We need to know who is the mole in the government,” he said.
“In one of his chats, Goswami was found boasting on how national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval was surprised to know that the former knows about the Centre's decision of revoking Article 370 beforehand. All this needs to be investigated,” Sawant commented.
Both Sachin Sawant and Mahesh Tapase are also going to meet the state home minister Anil Deshmukh over their demands on Tuesday.
Claiming the chats are a threat to national security, Sena leader and party’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “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 [air strike] will happen. This means there is a breach in 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 said to reporters in Mumbai.
The Sena also targeted BJP through its mouthpiece 'Saamana' on Monday and said, “If people from the BJP think that sharing of national secrets is not anti-national and acting on such issues is an emergency-like situation, then their definition of nationalism needs to be examined.”
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