Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of leaking information about the air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot to journalist Arnab Goswami, reported PTI. Gandhi made the comment while responding to a question on the purported WhatsApp chats between Goswami and former chief executive officer of Broadcast Audience Research Council Partho Dasgupta.
The Congress leader said that only Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the then Air Force chief BS Dhanoa knew about the strike. “Now I want to understand why an inquiry has not started on who told this journalist about Balakot before it happened,” Gandhi said while speaking to reporters in Karur city in Tamil Nadu, where he is on a campaign trail. “The reason is that one of these five people told this man. One of these five people betrayed our Air Force.”
Gandhi asked why the prime minister had not ordered an investigation into the matter. “If the prime minister did not do it [leak the information], then why is he not ordering an enquiry,” he asked. “Think about it. The only reason that the prime minister has not ordered an enquiry is because he is the person through which that message has gone to this journalist.”
The Congress leader added that the availability of confidential information on WhatsApp amounted to breach of the Official Secrets Act, ANI reported.
“The fact that this information is on WhatsApp and this gentleman knew about it three days before, of course, Official Secrets Act has been breached,” he said. “The Act has been breached by one of those five people and also by this person who is busy telling somebody else.”
Last week too, Gandhi had called for an inquiry into the matter, calling the episode a “criminal act”.
The alleged chat between the Republic TV editor-in-chief and the former BARC chief came to light earlier this month, part of the supplementary charge sheet that the Mumbai Police filed in the Television Rating Points scam case. It revealed that three days before the Balakot strike, Goswami had told Dasgupta that it would be “bigger than a normal strike”.
On February 26, 2019, the Indian Air Force carried out a strike targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp in the Pakistani town of Balakot. It was billed as India’s response to an attack on February 14, 2019, in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed after an explosive-laden car driven by a suicide bomber rammed into their bus.