New Delhi: The Coast Guard on Wednesday rubbished a story published in a leading English daily which quoted a DIG as saying that the Coast Guard had destroyed the Pakistani terror boat that was intercepted on the night of December 31, 2014 off the Porbandar coast.
Coast Guard Deputy DG KR Nautiyal told the media the story was not factual.
Quoting a written rejoinder submitted by DIG BK Loshali, Nautiyal said the operation against the boat was not handled by the officer.
“We have received a rejoinder from DIG Loshali. This (report) is not factual. He does not subscribe to the text whatever has been reported. He has not made such a statement,” Nautiyal said, clarifying on behalf of the Coast Guard and the DIG.
“What he (Loshali) said is that anti-national elements do not need to be served biryani,” he added.
The Coast Guard also released the rejoinder submitted by DIG Loshali. It says:
“Whatever has been reported... is not factual and I do not subscribe to the text. I have not made this statement. However, I had made the statement that anti-national elements do not need to be served biryani and to be handled as per the law. 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 completely. I reiterate the boat set herself on fire and was not sunk by the Coast Guard” - BK Loshali, DIG, Chief of Staff, Coast Guard Region (NW)
The officer in question, DIG Loshali, also addressed a press conference and dubbed the story as wrong.
He said media reports quoting him as saying that he ordered that the suspected boat be blasted were wrong and not factual.
"The operation was not handled by me. I was not fully privy to it," he told reporters.
The newspaper, in its report published this morning, had claimed that DIG Loshali had contradicted claims that suspected terrorists onboard the Pakistani terror boat had blown up the vessel.
The daily claimed DIG Loshali said at a function recently that it was in fact the Coast Guard which had blown up the Pakistani boat on the night of December 31, 2014.
As per the daily, Loshali had also disclosed that it was he who had ordered that the boat be blown up. “Blow the boat off…We don’t want to serve them biryani…”
The DIG's statement, as reported by the daily, had contradicted government's claim that the suspected terrorists had set the boat on fire and blew themselves up after being challenged by the Coast Guard.
Statements issued post the incident by the Defence Ministry, the Defence Minister and the Coast Guard had claimed that the boat was intercepted 365 miles off Porbandar coast following an hour-long chase by a Coast Guard ship on New Year’s Eve.
Photographs later released by the government showed the boat on fire.
As per the MoD, the vessel had set off from near Karachi on the eve of New Year and reportedly had four occupants.
Following the incident, there was speculation that the Pakistani boat was inside the Indian maritime boundary for 'drug trafficking or smuggling', but the government had debunked that theory.