Deputy Inspector General of the Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday denied a media report which stated he had ordered to blow up a Pakistani fishing boat that had infiltrated Indian waters, IBN reported. However, video evidence points to him confessing that the Indian authorities did blow up the boat.
On January 2, Indian government had claimed the boat - laden with explosives - blew up, killing all four people on board, after the Indian coast guard tried to stop and search it.
An Indian Express report today cited Deputy Inspector General of Indian Coast Guard BK Loshali as saying that they blew up the boat as it was in sea for an illicit transaction. However, Loshali said: "I do not subscribe to the report. I have not made this statement. The operation was not being handled by me. I was not privy to it completely. I reiterate the boat set herself on fire and was not sunk by coast guard."
The video shows Loshali admitting to have ordered for the boat to be blown up.
Backing Loshali, Deputy Director General of Indian Coast Guard KR Nautiyal said the DIG was misquoted. "I have received a rejoinder that this statement is not factual. DIG Loshali says he has been quoted out of context," Nautiyal said.
Statement By Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali pic.twitter.com/pNFugyzBg2— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2015
The Indian Express report stated that the DIG ordered that the boat should be blown up as it had entered the sea to carry out an illicit transaction.
“Let me tell you. 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 Express quoted DIG BK Loshali, who is also chief of staff (northwest Region), as saying.
Below is a video by the Indian Express which shows Loshali admitting to the fact that he ordered for the Pakistani boat to be blown up.
Loshali's claims contradicted the Defence Ministry which maintained that the people in the boat blew up the vessel.
Later during the day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he would order an inquiry into the matter, the Hindustan Times reported.
"I will make (an) inquiry, examine the video and will take action against the particular person if required," he said in response to a volley of questions from reporters.
"You are at the most making a case of disciplinary action for making a wrong statement," he said.
Referring to the sinking of the boat, Parrikar said: "We stick to our stand. We stand by what we said on the facts of the case...The issue is closed."
According to the Indian Express, Loshali was speaking on Monday at a gathering of officials from the coast guard and Larsen & Toubro during the launch of a coast guard interceptor boat, designed and built by L&T, in Surat.
Coast guard DIG Sudhir Sahni, in-charge of refit and production and G Sethy, deputy commandant, who are based in Surat, were also present at the gathering, the English Daily said.
Speaking to Express News, chairman of the Fisher Forum, Muhammad Ali Shah, said that they (India) were doing this to withdraw attention from the firing at the Line of Control.
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They may have done this to divert the attention from the exchange of fire at the LOC. They have done this to cover it
"The coast guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo; however, the boat increased speed and tried to escape away from the Indian side of maritime boundary. The hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots. At least four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in explosion and major fire on the boat," the Indian defence ministry had said in a press release on January 2.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on January 5 that "circumstantial evidence" indicated the boat had suspected terror links. Parrikar had said he would classify them as "suspected or possible terrorists" as the suicidal act of setting the boat on fire after being intercepted showed that they were "committed" and indicated suspected terror link.
"A normal boat, even carrying some drugs, can throw away their drugs and surrender. No one is going to kill himself unless you are motivated enough to do that."
Pakistan had rejected India's allegations about the boat as "baseless and preposterous".
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