Amid heated debates over Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami’s leaked WhatsApp chat concerning the Balakot airstrike, the Maharashtra government on Saturday said that it is taking legal opinion on whether an action can be taken against Goswami under the Official Secrets Act.
Addressing a press conference here, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also sought to know from the Centre how Goswami got access to sensitive information regarding the strike.
The development came a day after the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the matter.
He was referring to the purported chats between Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) head Partho Dasgupta, which mentioned that Goswami was privy to the 2019 airstrike, when the Indian Air Force (IAF) hit the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26 that year.
"The WhatsApp chat shockingly revealed that Arnab had information about the Balakot airstrike three days in advance of the actual incident," he said.
"We want to ask the central government how Goswami got such sensitive information about the attack, which is otherwise known only to the prime minister, defence minister, Army chief and few select people," the minister said.
This issue is related to national security and the central government must reply on it, he said.
"The Maharashtra government is taking legal opinion on whether the state home department can take action in this connection under the Official Secrets Act, 1923," Deshmukh said.
The airstrike was carried out in Pakistan's Balakot in the wake of the killing of 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14, 2019, by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
(With PTI inputs.