The Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Maharashtra will examine whether Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act is applicable vis-a-vis the voluminous WhatsApp chats between Arnab Goswami, the Republic Media Network’s editor-in-chief and Partho Dasgupta, the ex-chief executive officer of Broadcast Audience Research Council.
The Uddhav Thackeray-government also urged the Narendra Modi-government to take cognisance of the chats particularly those in respect of the 2019 Pulwama attacks and the subsequent airstrike in Balakot as it has a direct bearing on national security.
“We will examine whether Section 5 of Official Secrets Act is applicable or not,” state home minister Anil Deshmukh said after a Maharashtra Congress delegation comprising Sachin Sawant and Raju Waghmare called on him in Mumbai.
“I had a meeting with (top) police officials today…we have discussed the issue….we are seeking legal opinion on this and then the government would take appropriate decision….the government will act only after the legal opinion and seeking all information,” said Deshmukh, who belongs to Sharad Pawar-led NCP.
“I would also request the Centre to look into the issue as the meeting comes a day ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting scheduled on Wednesday.
Headed by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the government comprises Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress.
It needs to be mentioned that earlier when Goswami was arrested by Maharashtra police in connection with abetment to suicide case – the BJP had come out in his support.
The Congress has pointed out how, in one of the chats, Goswami tells Dasgupta that he had confirmed information about India planning a cross-border strike on Pakistan in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attacks on CRPF bus.
“Even the date and time stamps on this message show that this chat happened 3 days before the Indian Air Force conducted an airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan on February 26, 2019,” the Congress memorandum said.