NEW DELHI: Disclosing official secrets to a journalist is a criminal act, and those providing and receiving such information should be punished, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday.
He was referring to the transcripts of the purported WhatsApp chats between Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and ex-CEO of BARC Partho Dasgupta.
On allegations that Goswami was privy to the Balakot air strike beforehand, Gandhi said only five people — Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Home Minister, Air Force chief and National Security Advisor — were privy to the information.
“Information was with 4-5 people. In such missions, information is not given to even the pilot. That person (Goswami) received the information from one of these five. This is a criminal act. We will have to find out who did it, and then both will have to go to jail,” he said while addressing a press conference.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former Congress chief alleged the process to find out who passed the information will not start as the prime minister may himself have leaked the information.
Questioning the patriotism of the BJP leadership, Rahul said that there was nothing patriotic about taking political mileage out of the strike.
“If Arnab Goswami knows, if it is on his WhatsApp, I assume the Pakistanis also know it. It is not a very big jump. It is a criminal act and investigation should begin,” he said.
On the purported chats doing rounds on social media, Gandhi said: “The distressing thing is that after the 2019 Pulwama attack, the journalist said that this is good for us. It reflects the mind of the prime minister that the death of 40 of our people is good as we will win the elections.”
The five who knew
On allegations that Goswami was privy to the Balakot air strike beforehand, Gandhi said only five people — PM, Defence Minister, Home Minister, Air Force chief and NSA— were privy to the information.