Arnab case: Cong accuses BJP of leaking official secrets

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 21, 2021

Senior congress leader AK Antony with party leaders addressing a press conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday   -  Sandeep Saxena

Opposition to raise the issue during the Budget session

The Congress has accused BJP Ministers of compromising national security by divulging sensitive information to media for political gain. Senior Congress leaders will take up the issue in the coming budget session of the parliament.

The Congress on Wednesday fielded senior leaders and former ministers to underline compromise of national security such as the leakage of information on Balakot air strikes emerging out of the revelations in the exchange between the editor-in-chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami and former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council Partho Dasgupta and asked the government to issue a clarification.

Congress leaders and former members in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) AK Antony, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Salman Khurshid and Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party will raise the issue in the upcoming budget session of the Parliament because it concerns leakage of sensitive national security issues to the media outlets favourable to the BJP for political gains.

National security

The leaders said the WhatsApp chats in what is now being known as the “TRP Scam” prove that top secret information detrimental to national security and integrity by the present members of CCS was leaked for benefiting the BJP politically. They accused the present ministers of violating their Constitutional oath of office. “The responsible minister/official violated the OSA and the Constitutional Oath of Secrecy. They should be brought to book and sacked,” said former Defence Minister AK Antony.

The Congress leaders added that TRP saga reveals “an ugly spectre of inexcusable compromise with national security and an unforgivable trade off” with the Oath of Constitution by those holding high offices.

“The shocked nation has witnessed a reprehensible conduct of those in the highest echelons of power in defrauding every government structure, the atrocious and scandalous attack on India’s highest judiciary.,” they said.

The chats appeared in a chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police on the TRP scam. “A man posing to be a journalist colludes with the high and mighty of the Government. He gets his manipulated TRPs and manipulates public opinion for the ruling party. In the process India and every single Indian lose out on a chance for responsive, clean and progressive governance,” the Congress leaders said.

They alleged that Goswami had access to secret details of Balakot strikes three days ahead of it.

“The only people who had knowledge of these operations were the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the National Security Advisor. In a shameful exchange between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, it is mentioned, ‘It is good for big man in this season’. ‘He will sweep polls then’,” the Congress leaders said.

“Can the martyrdom of 40 Indian soldiers be a matter of victory for any Indian? Which one of these four individuals shared sensitive secret about a top military operation with a civilian not authorised to possess such information? Does this not amount to an act of treason, its armed forces and every single patriotic Indian? Is this not a brazen violation of the Official Secrets Act,” they asked.

The leaders said both the situations — Goswami controlling the Government or Government controlling Goswami — are dangerous for democracy.

“Never before has India’s national security been so completely compromised. Never before have the offices of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister, and Information and Broadcasting Minister been so brazenly compromised,” the leaders said.

Published on January 20, 2021

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