Bengaluru: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said his Ministry stands by the statement that an intruding Pakistani boat blew itself up off Porbandar coast on New Year eve and hinted at disciplinary action against a Coast Guard official who reportedly claimed that it was sunk by the force.
"The Defence Ministry had given a very clear statement. We stand by it," he told a press conference here referring to the stand taken by him and the ministry that the crew of Pakistani boat had set it afire when challenged by the Coast Guard.
Parrikar indicated disciplinary action against the Coast Guard official DIG B K Loshali if he had made the statement contradicting the Ministry's stand.
"If someone tomorrow makes a statement which is incorrect at the most you are making a case of a disciplinary proceeding against him. At the most if you prove that he has made statement, you are making a case of taking action against him.
It does not change ground reality," he said.
The Minister was asked about the statement of Loshali that it was the Coast Guard which blew up the Pakistani boat on the night of December 31, 2014. Responding to a volley of questions on Loshali's reported statement, the Minister said if the DIG has made the remarks, he will take action but only after enquiring into the issue.
He said he will seek a copy of the video recording to ascertain the facts. Loshali had reportedly said yesterday, "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, who is also chief of staff, northwest region, however, backtracked today saying he has been misquoted. The Minister also said he "could release evidence" relating to the incident. "I could do that," he said when asked whether he would make the evidence public.
Till now the Defence Ministry, Defence Minister and the Coast Guard have maintained that it was the Pakistani boat's crew that had set it on fire or were responsible for the explosion that destroyed the vessel 365 km off Porbandar after an hour-long chase by a Coast Guard ship on New Year's Eve.