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Arnab 'chatgate': Maha Vikas Aghadi demands JPC probe

11:13 PM Jan 18, 2021 | Sanjay Jog

Mumbai: The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners -- the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress -- have demanded that the BJP-led government at the Centre launch a comprehensive probe into the purported WhatsApp chats between Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council Chief Executive Officer Partho Dasgupta.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh admitted that the matter was quite serious and announced that he had convened a meeting on Tuesday with police and security agencies.

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Dubbing it ‘Chatgate,’ the NCP has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe, as it involves issues related to national security. Chief spokesman of the NCP Mahesh Tapase said the question that arose was how Goswami had been privy to such sensitive information and therefore, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs should identify the source and immediately take action.

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‘‘The Modi Government and the BJP seem to have gone totally silent on Goswami. Home Minister Amit Shah should come forward and praise the Mumbai Police for launching an investigation into the TRP scam. Similarly, the BJP should clarify its position on Goswami,’’ said Tapase. He added that NCP representatives would meet Deshmukh on Tuesday.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the chats posed a threat to national security. ‘‘This is clearly a threat to internal security. Top military officers are sometimes not even aware of such secrets. If an Army person were to be in possession of such secrets, he would be court-martialled. Here Goswami knew that the Balakot air strike would happen, which is clearly a breach of national security.’’ Raut asked what action would be initiated by the Union Home and Defence Minister against Goswami. ‘‘We ask them, ‘Will you court-martial him?’ ” Raut said.

Earlier, the Shiv Sena, in its mouthpiece Saamna, had lashed out at the BJP, saying that its definition of nationalism should be examined if its party members were of the view that the sharing of national secrets was not anti-national.

Further, a Congress party delegation too will meet Deshmukh on Tuesday, demanding an inquiry into the purported chats. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant said, ‘‘The gravity of the content in those chats transcends the TRP scam. Now it's a question of national security! Will soon demand high-level inquiry into the WhatsApp chats,’’ he said.

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