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Did Arnab Goswami have prior information about Balakot strike?

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New Delhi, Jan 17: Opposition has demanded a high-level probe into the purported WhatsApp chat between Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta in which the former is alleged to have told the incarcerated executive that India would strike at Pakistan three days before the actual airstrike.

Arnab Goswami

"If what a section of Media is reporting is correct then it points towards a direct linkage between Balakot airstrikes and 2019 General elections. Was National Security milked for electoral purposes? Needs a JPC investigation," MP Manish Tiwari wrote on Twitter.

"Did a journalist (and his friend) know about the retaliatory strike on Balakot camp three days before the actual strike? If yes, what is the guarantee that their 'source' did not share the information with others as well, including spies or informers working for Pakistan? How did a "For Your Eyes Only" decision find its way to the government-supporting journalist? @rajnathsingh," Chidambaram tweeted.

A purported WhatsApp conversation between Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO, Partho Dasgupta, went viral on Friday, raising questions about illegal access to highly classified information.

The chats revealed that the government had planned the airstrike "in a way" that the people would be "elated" at "something major".

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack which killed 40 CRPF troopers. While India conducted an air raid on terrorist camps in Balakot on Pakistan's side on February 26, the Pakistan Air Force made incursions into Indian airspace on the next day.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman landed in Pakistani custody following an aerial dogfight between Indian and Pakistani pilots a day after the Balakot airstrikes in 2019.

His MiG-21 Bison aircraft had crossed over to the Pakistani side and was shot down. He was subsequently released on March 1, 2019.

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