New Delhi: Coast Guard Deputy Director General K.R. Nautiyal on Wednesday alleged that the facts presented in the media with regards to the interception of the Pakistani terror boat off the coast of Porbandar were not factual, adding that the operation against the vessel had not been handled by Deputy Inspector General B.K. Loshali.
Nautiyal was reacting to a report in a daily newspaper, which claimed that Loshali had ordered officers following the Pakistani vessel to ‘blow the boat off’, thus contradicting the government’s claim that the boat had exploded under suspicious circumstances.
“About the incident, what had been quoted in some sections of media today, I have received a re-jointer today from DIG B.K. Loshali. He has indicated specifically that it is not factual, and does not subscribe to the text of whatever has been indicated. He also goes on to say that he has not made the statement. What he has said is ‘I have made a statement that an anti-national element does not need to be served biryani and handled as per the law of the land.’ This is exactly what DIG Loshali has indicated in his statement,” Nautiyal told the media.
“He also goes on to say that the operation was not handled by him. It was being spear headed by the Commander Coast Guard region North-West and the ops teams. He added that the boat set itself on fire and didn’t sink because of the firing by the coast guard. So, that is the clarification officer has given in writing,” Nautiyal added.
On December 31, the Coast Guard had intercepted an explosive-laden Pakistani fishing boat in the Arabian Sea off the Porbandar coast, near the India-Pakistan maritime boundary which lies approximately 365 kilometres away from Porbander.
A statement by the Ministry of Defence had said that intelligence inputs indicated that the boat was planning some illicit transaction in the Arabian Sea. Based on the information, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook a sea-air coordinated search and located the suspect vessel.
According to the statement, on being warned, the suspects increased the speed of the boat and attempted to flee to maritime boundary before ultimately setting the vessel on fireresulting in in an explosion. Ultimately, the boat burnt and sank in the early hours of January 1. None of the people on board could be saved and the material could not be recovered.