Govt faces embarrassment over Coast Guard DIG's claim

Ahmedabad/Bengaluru, Feb 18: Government was today left red-faced after a senior Coast Guard official negated its claim that the crew on an intruding Pakistani boat had set it ablaze but Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stood his ground and hinted at disciplinary action against him.

Acting close on the heels of the minister's statement, the Coast Guard issued a show cause notice to Coast Guard DIG B K Loshali, Chief of Staff (North West Region), asking him for his explanation on his claim yesterday in Surat that he had ordered blowing up of the boat off the Porbandar coast on the new year eve.

Pak boat
Loshali's version contradicted the claims by the Defence Minister, Ministry and the Coast Guard made immediately after the incident when they had maintained that when the boat was chased by Coast Guard ships four men on board had set it ablaze.

Today, Loshali made a U-turn, claiming he was misquoted by the media. However, the Indian Express uploaded the video of Loshali in which he says that he ordered on December 31 night to "blow up that boat". "Let me tell you. 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," he had said in Surat.

Joining the controversy, Congress demanded that the government come clean on the issue and warned it against threatening the DIG. AAP said the row showed how the government was functioning as one hand does not know what the other hand was doing.

But Loshali himself sang a different tune. "I was not privy to whatever was happening. I have been misquoted. I had mentioned that no anti-national element will be allowed to breach our coastal security and we are not going to serve them biryani."

"The operation was classified in nature and its details were not shared (with me)," he told reporters, adding it was his boss Inspector General, North West region, Kuldip Singh Sheoran who was in charge of the operation.


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