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Terror boat row: Coast Guard DIG issued show cause notice; Pakistan hits out at India

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New Delhi: DIG BK Loshali, who had bragged that the Pakistani terror boat, which blew itself up on the night of December 31, 2014 off the Porbandar coast, was actually destroyed by the Coast Guard, was on Wednesday reportedly issued a show cause notice by the Defence Ministry.
The development came shortly after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the remarks by the DIG, reported by a leading English daily, will be probed and action will be taken if necessary.

While Loshali yesterday took a U-turn on his remarks, the daily released a video which shows the DIG making the claims of Coast Guard destroying the Pakistani boat.

The DIG’s remarks contradicted government’s stand as the Defence Ministry had maintained that occupants of the boat, suspected to be terrorists and not smugglers, had themselves set the vessel on fire after being intercepted and challenged by the Coast Guard on New Year’s eve.

Pakistan also latched onto the disclosure, with its Defence Minister Khawaja Asif saying, “It has one again been proved that India has violated the international rules and disregarded the humanitarian considerations. It (India) not only imposed baseless and false allegations on Pakistan like in the case of Samjhauta Express, but was involved in treacherously killing four innocent lives on board. India has once again proved to be heinous in its face, designs and urge for peace.”

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of Aero India 2015, Parrikar said that the government “stands by its statement” that the boat was blown up by the “suspected terrorists” themselves and was prepared to release evidence to this effect.

The DIG had reportedly told a gathering in Surat on Monday at a function to launch a Coast Guard vessel: “Let me tell you. I hope you remember 31st December night. We blew off that Pakistan boat. 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.”

Ahead of Parrikar’s press conference, Loshali, who is DIG, Chief of Staff, Coast Guard’s northwest region, yesterday denied making the comments.

Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Loshali said media reports quoting him as saying that he ordered that the suspected boat be blown up were wrong and not factual.

“The operation was not handled by me. I was not fully privy to it,” he maintained.

The suspicious boat was intercepted by the Coast Guard based on an intelligence input on December 31, after it was traced in the Arabian Sea, 365 km off Porbandar in Gujarat. The dramatic incident was a reminder of the manner Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai in 2008.

The vessel, which had set off from near Karachi on New Year’s Eve, turned into a ball of fire and sank after its occupants, believed to be four in number, apparently set fire to it early January 1.

(With agency inputs)

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