January 23, 2021 4:09:57 pm
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh Saturday said the state government was seeking legal opinion on whether any action could be taken against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami under the Official Secrets Act over his purported WhatsApp chats with former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) head Partho Dasgupta regarding the 2019 Balakot airstrike.
Deshmukh, who was addressing a press conference in Mumbai, also sought to know from the Centre how Goswami got access to the sensitive information.
“The WhatsApp chat shockingly revealed that Arnab had information about the Balakot airstrike three days in advance of the actual incident. We want to ask the central government how Goswami got such sensitive information about the attack, which is otherwise known only to the prime minister, defence minister, Army chief and few select people,” Deshmukh said.
“The Maharashtra government is taking legal opinion on whether the state home department can take action in this connection under the Official Secrets Act, 1923,” he added.
The purported chats between Goswami and Dasgupta mentioned that the Republic TV editor was privy to the Balakot air strikes, when the Indian Air Force (IAF) hit the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan, on February 26, 2019. The airstrike was carried out after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama district days earlier, on February 14, by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group.
On Friday, a protest was held by the Maharashtra Congress over Goswami’s purported WhatsApp chats. The protest was led by city Congress chief Bhai Jagtap near the Republic TV’s office at Worli in south Mumbai.
Earlier, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), too, had asked the central government to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the purported chats between Goswami and Dasgupta.
(With PTI inputs)
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