New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday sought to corner the NDA government over the Pakistan terror boat issue and charged that the Defence Ministry had treated the matter casually as the row over it deepened in the wake of remarks by a senior Coast Guard officer contradicting the official version of the incident.
Demanding that the government come clean on the issue, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken told reporters that the contradictory statements suggested that the Defence Ministry, led by Manohar Parrikar, had not handled the matter properly and "treated it casually."
He further said that instead of "threatening" a senior Coast Guard officer, the government should come out with the facts of the matter.
Congress was reacting to the statements by Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali contradicting the Defence Ministry's claim that he had ordered the blowing up of an intruding Pakistani boat off Porbandar coast on New Year's night.
After the officer today made a U-turn and claimed he was misquoted, English daily Indian Express uploaded a video of the DIG in which he says that he had ordered on December 31 night to "blow up that boat".
"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," Loshali said at a function in Surat yesterday.
The Defence Ministry and Parrikar had said after the operation that the boat had blown up itself after its crew was asked to surrender.
But with the Coast Guard officer's remarks fuelling a row, Congress leader Manish Tewari earlier today asked the Defence Minister to introspect as to what was a bigger sin, blowing up the boat or "lying" to the nation.
"Def Min what is a bigger sin blowing the Paki boat or lying to the nation? If they were indeed terrorists why be ashamed of blowing them (sic)," Tewari tweeted.
"Uncanny similarities to similar modus operandi the fake encounter syndrome to bolster machismo & build Alpha image", he added in another tweet.
Maken reminded that BJP President Amit Shah had accused the Congress of speaking the language of Pakistan when the party had raised doubts over the boat incident in the light of reports in the media.
The BJP chief had also taunted Congress then by asking whether it wanted to contest polls in Pakistan, Maken added.