The Indian Express has released a video of Deputy Inspector General BK Loshali saying that he had ordered the destruction of a suspicious Pakistani boat, backing its report after the senior Coast Guard official said the statement was wrongly attributed to him and he had not been privy to the operation.
According to the Express, "This is the first time that the Coast Guard — in remarks that were recorded — has admitted that it destroyed the suspect boat which, the government claimed, had blown itself up under suspicious circumstances."
Watch the video here:
Earlier addressing the press, Loshali said that he had been present at the launch of a new Coast Guard vessel in Surat and said that the report had quoted him wrongly.
"I had mentioned coast security measures will be strengthened further with the boat. I said in the same breath that no anti-national elements would be able to breach our security and we will not serve them biriyanis," Loshali said.
He also said that the Coast Guard operation in the case had been under the supervision of the regional chief and given the details of the operation were on a "need to know basis", he was not privy to them and wasn't issuing any orders in the case.
"I have been misquoted," Loshali said.
The Coast Guard chief said DIG BK Loshali had issued a statement saying that the statement in the media had been wrongly attributed to him and had also quoted him wrongly.
"I had made a statement that anti-national elements should not be served biriyani and should face the law of the land," the spokesperson quoted Loshali as saying.
In an exclusive report, the Indian Express today quoted Loshali, as saying that he was there at Gandhinagar and he had ordered officials to 'blow the boat off' as opposed to the government's claim that the boat had blown itself up under suspicious circumstances.
In his latest statement however, Loshali said that he had been quoted out of context and had not in fact made the comment attributed to him.
The Indian Express has said that it will be releasing the video and other evidence to prove the authenticity of the statement.
The report had sparked controversy given that the defence establishment and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar have consistently maintained that the occupants of the boat had blown themselves up after leading the Coast Guard on a chase.
The official stand of the coast guard, was that after receiving an intelligence input they had pursued the ship with an aircraft and a vessel. They said that instead of surrendering, "the boat started moving in a zig-zag way and switched off lights."
The occupants of the boat allegedly ignored warning shots that were fired at it and after some time its occupants were accused of setting the vessel on fire, resulting in it sinking. No evidence had emerged of the occupants carrying explosives.
The government had also claimed that they had evidence of call intercepts that were made from the boat to Pakistan, which proved that the occupants were suspected terrorists.
Pakistan had said it expected India to conduct a "transparent" probe and had said that its own investigation has shown that there was "no sound evidence" to substantiate India's assertions.