Nagpur: The Maharashtra government is taking legal opinion on whether action can be taken against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami under the Official Secrets Act over his purported WhatsApp chats concerning the Balakot air strike, a state minister said on Saturday.
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.
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 air strike, 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 air strike 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 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 air strike was carried out in Pakistan’s Balakot in the wake of killing of 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, 2019 by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.