Rahul Gandhi, air strikes, Republic TV, Arnab Goswami, Narendra Modi

Rahul alleges leak of info on Balakot strike to Arnab Goswami, targets Modi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged prior information on India’s air strikes in Balakot in Pakistan in 2019 was ”leaked” to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and sought to blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it.
It was also a ”breach” of the Official Secrets Act, he contended.
The Congress MP, however, did not provide evidence to back up his claim. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also did not immediately respond to the unfounded claim.
Gandhi, who made the claim during his roadshow during the final day of his three-day election campaign in poll-bound Tamil Nadu in this district, later reiterated it in a brief media interaction.
Only five people including the PM and the Defence Minister would have prior information of the planned strikes.
“Some days back it came out that a journalist knew about the air strikes in Balakot. Three days before the (Indian) air force bombed Pakistan, an Indian journalist was told it was going to happen,” he said in his public address.
This meant the lives of our IAF pilots were put at ”risk,” he said.
“Now, five people in this world knew about Balakot (air strikes). Prime Minister of India, the Defence minister of India, the National Security Adviser and the Chief of the Air Force and the Home Minister.”
“Nobody else in the world knew about Balakot before it happened. Now I want to understand why an inquiry has not started on who told this journalist about Balakot before it happened. The reason is that one of these five people told this man. One of these five people betrayed our Air Force,” he claimed.
He alleged that “one of these people put the lives of our pilots in danger.”
“If the Prime Minister did not do it then why is he not ordering an inquiry. Think about it. The only reason that the Prime Minister has not ordered an inquiry is because he is the person through which that message has gone to this journalist,” Gandhi claimed.
“If it is not the Prime Minister why has he not ordered an inquiry and said treason has taken place. Somebody out of these five people has put the Indian nation, the Indian Air Force at risk. I want to find out who it is,” he told reporters later.
It is the first thing the Prime Minister would do.
“The only reason he has not done it is because he is involved in this type of leaking of information,” Gandhi alleged.
“The fact that this information is on WhatsApp and this gentleman (Goswami) knows it three days before… of course Official Secrets Act has been breached. The act has been breached by one of those five people and also by this person who is busy telling somebody else,” he said, expressing fears that “enemy forces” could access such information too if it was on such social media platform.
Purported chats between Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) head Partho Dasgupta, which mentioned that the former was privy to the 2019 air strike, by the IAF on the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot had surfaced recently.
The IAF had carried out the strike deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in the wake of killing of 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district then by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
However, the Republic Media Network had on Sunday hit out at the Congress over its allegations that the purported WhatsApp chats of Goswami point to breach of national security and violations of the Official Secrets Act, and claimed that the party was peddling “falsehoods”.
Gandhi also hit out at Modi once again over the Sino-India face-off, saying “today the Chinese army is sitting inside Indian territory.”
“The Prime Minister has said he has a 56 inch chest, big chest. Today the Chinese army is sitting inside Indian territory. Thousand km of Indian land has been taken by the Chinese,” he said.
He alleged that Modi cannot say the word China as he “does not have the courage to say” so.
“You look at his speeches for the last 3-4 months, he does not say the word China. When the Chinese entered our territory he lied that nobody has come. After some days the Army and Defence minister said the Chinese army had come into Indian territory,” Gandhi added.
“And the only reason the Chinese have the guts and the courage to come into this country is because Narendra Modi has destroyed the economy and weakened (the country) by dividing it,” he alleged.