MUMBAI: Opposition parties, mainly the Congress, have demanded an investigation into the purported WhatsApp chat between Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta in which the former is alleged to have told the incarcerated executive that India would strike at Pakistan three days before the actual airstrike against terror targets at Balakot in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
The purported conversation, on February 23, 2019, revealed that the government had planned the airstrike “in a way” that the people would be “elated” at “something major”.
Three days later, on February 26, the IAF conducted an aerial strike at a terror training centre in Balakot of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in retaliation for the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel had died.
The Opposition said the alleged leak of classified military information in advance amounted to treason and they should be prosecuted. The WhatsApp chats are part of the Mumbai Police’s charge sheet, submitted
before a court, in connection with the case of alleged manipulation of TRPs by news channels, including Republic TV.
Demanding a probe into the purported conversation, senior Congress leader and minister in the Chhattisgarh government T S Singh Deo tweeted: “It’s a major security lapse if our military secrets & strategies on Balakot strike were leaked by someone in Central Govt to pvt players for their benefit. This calls for an investigation & prosecution of culprits. Leaking of classified millitary information amounts to treason.”
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi suspected that “someone very senior in the government” could be leaking the confidential information.
“Arnab’s chats dated 23.02.2019 refer to sharing of Intel reaction along the Pak border. It means someone very senior in Govt is leaking highly confidential info which may endanger the lives of our soldiers & so that mercenary considerations can add to TRPs,” he tweeted.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the party has decided to meet the state home minister, Anil Deshmukh, with a complaint against Goswami over the issue. Meanwhile, Dasgupta was admitted in the government-run JJ hospital late on Friday night. He was arrested and lodged in Taloja jail.
Sanjay Surase, superintendent of the hospital, said the sugar level of Dasgupta had spiked and the oxygen level had come down.
“He is admitted in ICU and he is stable now. He is diabetic. We have given him oxygen and are closely monitor his health; there is nothing to worry,” Surase said.
Dasgupta’s daughter, Pratyusha Dasgupta, tweeted that her father was brought in an unconscious condition from the jail to the hospital.
“But no one from our family was informed about my father’s health… My father was suffering numerous ailments that include diabetic, hypertension, and ankylosing spondylities and autoimmune disorder. He has been ill treated and traumatized, therefore he should be shifted to private hospital. We are ready to bear the cost of his medical expenses,” she tweeted.