Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena demand action. ‘What action will the country’s home minister and defence minister take on this?’
NEW DELHI – Opposition parties such as Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena accused Narendra Modi government of leaking military secrets to Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami after the WhatsApp chats between Goswami and former CEO of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) revealed that Goswami had prior knowledge of government decisions including Balakot airstrike.
The leaked WhatsApp chats which were part of the chargsheet filed in the TRP scam revealed that Goswami had prior knowledge of Balakot airstrike, Modi government’s actions on Jammu and Kashmir and other decisions taken by the Central government.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut termed the leaking of military secrets as breach of national security and demanded action against Republic editor Goswami.
“I think this is a threat to 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?” said Raut talking to reporters in Mumbai.
The Sena also criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party through an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna.
“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,” said the editorial.
The NCP, which is part of Maharashtra government, demanded to set up Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe those WhatsApp chats. Referring to those leaked chats, NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said, “It is extremely shocking and disturbing to know how issues related to national security have been used to gain TRPs.”
“The question also arises how Arnab was privy to such sensitive information. The Ministry of Home Affairs has to identify the source and immediately take action,” he added.
Tapase also said that he will meet Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and seek clarification from the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He also asked the BJP to clarify their position on Goswami.
Senior Congress leaders raised questions over the breach of national security citing the leaked chats of Goswami. But Randeep Surjewala, communication department of the Congress, said that they are examining the issue and will come up with a response soon.
“The WhatsApp chats which have come out in the Mumbai Police chargesheet in itself raises serious questions about national security. How financial frauds have taken place and in that how those people occupying high posts were involved… how conversations took place regarding buying of even judges… how journalists decided who will get what posts in the council of ministers… All this raises questions on compromise with national security… and the hollowness of those who are in power,” said Surjewala.
Other senior Congress leaders like Shashi Tharoor and P Chidambaram raised concerns over leaking of military secrets.
Tharoor tweeted, “The leaked @WhatsApp chats reveal 3 reprehensible things requiring serious inquiry: leaking of military secrets to a TV channel for its commercial purposes; a ‘nationalist’ gloating over the death of 40 jawans as an ‘attack we have won like crazy’, & fraudulent manipulation of TRPs.”