New Delhi: Weeks after India claimed success in intercepting a Pakistani terror boat off the Porbandar coast in Gujarat, a Deputy Inspector General of the Coast Guard has contradicted claims that the suspected terrorists onboard had blown up the vessel.
As reported by a leading English daily, DIG BK Loshali claimed at a function recently that it was in fact the Coast Guard which blew up the Pakistani boat on the night of December 31, 2014.
Loshali, who is also Chief of Staff (North West Region), further disclosed it was he who had ordered that the boat be blown up. “Blow the boat off…We don’t want to serve them biryani…” is what the DIG is reported to have ordered.
The DIG's statement contradicts 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 then 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.
The Coast Guard has said that it will issue a clarification on the matter soon.
The disclosure was made by Loshali at a function to launch interceptor boat ICGS C-421, and in the presence of senior Coast Guard officials.
“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 paper quoted Loshali as saying at the function.
“Mujhe speech di gayi thi lekin main mann se baat karoonga (I was given a speech, but I shall speak my mind),” he said at the start of his speech.
In a January 2 press release, the Defence Ministry had detailed the incident: “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. 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.”
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.