Bengaluru,feb.19 : Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday that the government stood by its past explanation on how a rogue Pakistani boat exploded and sank in the Arabian Sea.
He contradicted the controversial statement of an Indian Coast Guard officer, who claimed credit for blowing up the Pakistani boat onDecember 31.
If someone makes an incorrect statement, you can make a case of disciplinary action. I will order an inquiry and take action against the person after the probe,he said. The government has evidence in support of its stand.
A show-cause notice has been served on the officer for the serious misconduct on his part as evident from the media reports. The video released by the media on the officer’s statement and rejoinder issued by the officer, stating that he was not spearheading the operation, is being investigated, says a statement issued by the Coast Guard.
Parrikar’s statement comes following the release of a video in a section of the media in which Coast Guard Deputy Inspector General B K Loshali was seen claiming credit for the controversial incident.
We blew them up…I was there at Gandhinagar and I said at night blow the boat up. We don’t want to serve them biryani (sic), he is seen in the video making these claims at a function. Since the officer contradicts the government’s stand on blaming suspected element for the mysterious explosion, it led to a controversy.
The Defence Ministry stands by what it stated in the past. You got a denial from me. I can release the evidence, if you want. There are 15-16 lakh service personnel. I can’t take action without an enquiry, Parrikar said here at a press conference on the sidelines of Aero India 2015.
Three days after the incident, the ministry issued a press statement saying after a hot pursuit by the Coast Guard, the four-member crew of the boat hid themselves in the compartment below deck and set the boat on fire, leading to a huge explosion.
The obvious inference was that the boat was carrying explosives.
Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of January 1, says the Defence Ministry statement.
Parrikar complimented the Coast Guard on intercepting the rogue vessel off the coast of Gujarat, in a timely and precise manner, thereby, averting a possible danger. The Navy, too, claimed it was in the loop.
As the controversy broke out, Loshali issued a clarification distancing himself from the comments.
I have not made this statement. However, I had made a statement that anti-national elements do not need to be served biriyani and to be handled as per the law of the land, says the statement of Loshali, who is the Chief of Staff for Commander, Coast Guard Region (North West).
As a matter of fact, the operation was not being handled by me and was spearheaded by Commander Coast Guard Region and operation team being classified in nature, I was not privy to it completely. I reiterate that the boat set herself on fire and was not sunk by the Coast Guard, it adds.