New Delhi, Feb 18:
A Coast Guard official, who said he ordered that a Pakistani boat be blown up, Wednesday denied making the statement. However, an Indian Express video showed the official, saying “Blow the boat off…We don’t want to serve them biryani”.
Coast Guard Deputy Inspector General (DIG) B.K. Loshali Wednesday refuted media reports that said he ordered the blowing up of a suspected Pakistani boat on the intervening night of Dec 31 and Jan 1 off Porbandar in Gujarat.
Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, the officer 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.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the media in Bengaluru that the Coast Guard issue “could be discussed later”.
The Indian Express Wednesday put up the video on their website, which shows Loshali speaking at the launch ceremony of an interceptor boat in Surat Feb 16.
The little over a minute long video shows the senior Coast Guard officer saying: “I hope you remember 31st December night”.
“We blew off the 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”.
In early January, Parrikar had said that the people of a Pakistani vessel that blew up and sank off the coast of Gujarat were “suspected terrorists” and did not appear to be smugglers.
He also confirmed that another boat was also traced but it was in international waters.
According to the defence ministry, the suspicious boat was intercepted by the Coast Guard based on an intelligence input Dec 31, and 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, set fire to it early Jan 1. IANS