Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has launched a blistering attack against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government saying that the sharing of information on the Balakot airstrikes with Arnab Goswami was a criminal act. In a special press conference, Gandhi said that if Arnab Goswami knew about the Balakot airstrikes in advance, then he had no doubt that Pakistan too was aware of India’s military operations.
Addressing reporters in a special press conference in Delhi, Gandhi asked if it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had tipped of Goswami about Balakot airstrikes. He said, “If Mr. Arnab Goswami knows, if it’s on his WhatsApp, I assume Pakistanis also know it. It’s a very big jump. It’s a criminal action and that investigation should begin. I want to know whether it was the prime minister of India, who told Arnab Goswami or it was the defence minister or the home minister or the NSA. I want to know which one of those people told this man.”
In the alleged leaked WhatsApp chat with the then CEO of BARC, Partho Dasgupta, Goswami had predicted the Balakot airstrikes three days before the Indian Air Force planes carried out the military exercise deep inside Pakistan. Gandhi said that sharing the information on Balakot airstrikes with Goswami was a criminal act.
The Congress leader said, “This is a criminal act. Giving official secret information to a journalist is a criminal act. Both on the part of the person, who accepted it and on the part of the person, who gave it. These people call themselves patriots. There’s nothing patriotic about putting our Air Force at risk. There is nothing patriotic about taking political advantage so that our aircrafts get shot down, so that Pakistanis know that our Air Force is coming.”
Gandhi added, “Look, the law will take its own course, but I have an observation. This was top-secret information. This was not provided to anybody else. There were four or five people who knew this information. Prime Minister of India, possibly the defence minister of India, the home minister of India and the air force chief.”
In the alleged leaked WhatsApp chat, Goswami was seen celebrating the Pulwama terror attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. Gandhi said, “Also the distressing thing to me was somebody saying ‘this is going to be very good for us’ when our CRPF boys are killed. That’s the anti-national act and I don’t like that language.”
The Republic TV founder on Monday night appeared to confirm the content of the alleged leaked WhatsApp chat but denied being tipped off about the Balakot airtsrikes.