Pak boat explosion: Govt to probe officer who blew up in its face
Hours after The Indian Express reported the claim by a senior Coast Guard officer that India had “blown off” a Pakistani boat in the Arabian Sea early on New Year’s day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he was standing by the government’s version that the vessel had self-destructed, and announced an inquiry against the officer.
After The Indian Express released the video showing Coast Guard DIG B K Loshali’s speech, Parrikar said at a press conference, “Has The Indian Express released the video of the incident or (of) the DIG making the statement? So I will make inquiry against that… I will take the video copy.”
He added, “I will check if he has made the statement properly, word to word, whatever is reported. We will take action against the person if required. If he has made the statement after making a proper inquiry.There is a procedure that has to go. I am saying we stand by our statement. There is no change in situation.”
Wednesday morning’s edition of The Indian Express reported the contents of Loshali’s speech at the launch of Coast Guard interceptor boat ICGS C-421 at Hazira, Gujarat, on Monday.
“Let me tell you,” Loshali, who is also the Chief of Staff (North West Region) of the Coast Guard, had said. “I hope you remember 31st December night… we blew off that Pakistan… We have blown them off… I was there at Gandhinagar and I told at night, blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani…”
Loshali’s claim directly contradicted the version of the incident the government and Parrikar himself had put out at the time. The first Defence Ministry release on the incident on January 2 had said “the crew… set the boat on fire”, and Parrikar, while categorically denying that the Coast Guard warship chasing the boat had hit it, claimed the crew had “virtually committed suicide”, perhaps even popping a “cynaide pill” before setting the vessel ablaze.
On Wednesday morning, before The Indian Express made the video of his speech public, Loshali issued a statement denying the report.
“Whatever has been reported by The Indian Express is not factual… I have not made this statement, however I had made a statement that anti-national elements do not need to be served biryani and to be handled as per law of the land,” he said.