Coast Guard's deputy inspector general BK Loshali on Wednesday wrote a riposte to a report published by one of India's leading dailies, which claimed that the DIG had ordered the Coast Guard to 'blow up' the Pakistani boat that infiltrated into Indian waters along the coast of Porbandar in Gujarat on the night of 31 December.
The DIG claimed that the statement was wrongly attributed to him and clarified that he had not been privy to the operation.
The report quoted Loshali's statement, which stood in contradiction to government's earlier claim that the bloat 'blew itself up' after being chased by the Indian Coast Guard at an inauguration function in Surat, Gujarat.
"Let me tell you," Loshali 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..." The Indian Express had quoted Loshali as saying.
However, the DIG has refused to have made any such statement and said that the media report was not factual. Loshali said he did not have enough knowledge about the infiltration as the Coast Guard region commander was handling the mission at that time.
Coast Guard deputy director general KR Nautiyal has come forward in support of Loshali's statement. "What he (Loshali) said is that anti-national elements do not need to be served biryani," Nautiyal was quoted as saying by Zee News.
Loshali's rejoinder dated 18 February read, "Apropos to the news headline of Indian Express dated 18 Feb 15. It is to bring to the notice of all that whatever has been reported by the Indian Express is not factual and DIG BK Loshali does not subscribe to the text. I have not made this statement, however, I had made a statement that anti-national elements do not need to be served biryani and must be handled as per the law of the land.
"As a matter of fact, the operation was not being handled by me and was spearheaded by Commander Coast Guard Region (NW) and ops team being classified in nature, I was not privy to it. I reiterate that the boat set itself on fire and was not sunk by the Coast Guard" the rejoinder by BK Loshali, DIG, Chief of Staff for Commander, Coast Guard Region (NW) read.
The paper however stood by its report saying it has a video recording where Loshali has admitted to have passed the order. It released the video where Loshali admits to being present in Gandhinagar, when the Pakistani boats infiltrated into Indian waters.
The fresh controversy over the media report erupted over the incident that took place on New Year's Eve. Two Pakistani boats were spotted in the Indian waters some 365 miles off Porbandar Coast in Gujarat.
While one managed to escape to Pakistan, the other blew up and sank into the sea. Following the events, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Indian Coast Guard said that the boat blew itself up after Indian Coast Guard began chasing it.
They suspected that the boat was carrying explosives and not smuggled drugs, as was contested by others and media at that time.
"A normal boat, even carrying some drugs, can throw away their drugs and surrender. No one is going to be killing himself unless you are motivated enough to do that... As per our information, the boat was under our surveillance for over 12 hours — probably for more than a day — stationed there in one position... (I am) not speculating that it had explosives, but it had some activity in mind that does not fit the description of a smuggling boat. Which smuggler would commit suicide?" Parrikar had said in response to such questions.