Only 5 people had Balakot info, must probe who leaked it to Arnab: Rahul

‘Both source and recipient of IAF strike information must be booked’

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 19

In the first official reaction to the explosive Arnab Goswami chats, the Congress on Tuesday demanded a probe into the leakage of sensitive Balakot strike information to the Republic TV editor and said both the source and recipient of the official secret must be booked.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the offensive on the issue and said only five people knew of the strike and one of them shared it with Goswami.

“Both the person who gave the secret information and the one who received it must be booked. Sensitive defence information before Balakot was given to a journalist. Even the pilots get such information at the last moment. Top five people (the prime minister, the defence minister, the home minister, the IAF chief and the NSA) had this information. Someone out of them gave him this information. This is criminal. We must find out who gave and the process of the probe should begin but it will not because the PM must have given the information,” alleged Gandhi.

He also attacked Goswami for saying after the Pulwama attack that “it is good for us.”

“I do not like that language. It is the reflection of the PM’s thought process that 40 people have died and we will now win the elections,” said the former Congress chief.

Addressing a press conference here, Gandhi said, "The law will take its own course, but I have an observation. This was top-secret information, this was not provided to anybody else."              

"Giving official secret information to a journalist is a criminal act, both on the part of the person who accepted it and on the part of the person who gave it," he said.

Adding that the law would take its course, Gandhi said: “People in the government call themselves patriotic but there is nothing patriotic about giving out official secret information about our Air Force striking Pakistan. If Arnab Goswami knew, I believe Pakistan also knew.”

Referring to the contents of the purported chats, Gandhi said the distressing thing is that after the 2019 Pulwama attack, the journalist said that "this is good for us".

"This is a reflection of the mind of the prime minister that it is good that 40 of our people have been killed and we will win the elections," he alleged. 

Gandhi’s remarks can trigger a massive political backlash from the BJP that is yet to react to leaked Goswami’s chats with the ex BARC chief Partho Dasgupta.

On February 26, 2019, India had launched airstrikes on what was said to be JeM's training camp in Pakistan's Balakot. With PTI inputs


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