As the row over the alleged WhatsApp chats of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami which made references to the Pulwama attack and the Balakot airstrikes intensifies, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, January 19, said that providing official secret information to a journalist is a 'criminal act.'
"You will see that no inquiry will be conducted as the Prime Minister was the one who leaked the information," the Congress leader alleged as he demanded an investigation, NDTV reported.
"The distressing thing for me was that when 40 of our jawans died, someone said 'this is going to be very good for us'. I do not like this language. This is an anti-national act... It's a criminal action, giving official secret information to a journalist. I want to know whether it was the PM of India, home minister, defence minister or NSA who told Goswami... These people call themselves patriots. But there is nothing patriotic about putting our Air Force at risk," Gandhi said.
"We want to know who among these people gave Arnab Goswami that information. Was it Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself? Or was it the Home Minister?" he asked, attacking the Modi government.
On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and the attacker.
In alleged messages to Dasgupta on the same day, Goswami first allegedly mentioned that his channel was "20 min ahead on the biggest terrorist attack of the year in Kashmir".
Talking about his channel's coverage, Goswami then says: "This attack we have won like crazy".
On 23 February 2019, three days before Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted an airstrike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan's Balakot, Goswami allegedly told Dasgupta that "something big will happen."
Referring to the conversations, Rahul Gandhi said: "If such information is there on Arnab Goswami's WhatsApp message, then it is also there with Pakistan, this then cannot be a secret, and hence it puts pilots' lives in danger and puts the entire operation in jeopardy."