Mumbai: The Maharashtra Congress on Friday held protests in all the districts and different cities demanding the arrest of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for “treason” under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, party leaders said here.
At various places in the state, a large number of Congress activists protested by hurling stones and shoes at photos of Goswami, garlanding his portraits with chappals, and raising slogans against him and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Led by state Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, several ministers, legislators, state and district party leaders joined the agitations across all the 36 districts of Maharashtra.
Those who took part in the protests included Dheeraj Deshmukh, Praniti Shinde, Suresh Warpudkar, Sulabha Khodke, Vikas Thakre, Hishab Usmani, Sharad Aher, Prahlad Chavan, Prakash Deotale, Vijay Bhosale, Sandeep Patil and Shyam Saner, among others.
Terming the recent revelations of WhatsApp chats between Goswami and ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta as “extremely serious and violative of the OSA, 1923”, Thorat said these conversations amount to ‘treason’ for which the Republic TV chief must be immediately arrested.
He said that the chats between the two had made some serious revelations related to national security and pertaining to the retaliatory surgical strike by India in Balakot, Pakistan, in February 2019.
“How did Goswami get the information on the air strikes of February 2019, three days before the action was undertaken? Who is the ‘Big Name’ in the government that he refers to? With whom did Goswami share such sensitive information that is violative of the OSA, 1923,” Thorat asked.
The Congress leader also pointed out that the WhatsApp chats indicate the close ties Goswami enjoys with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other ministers in the BJP-led Central government, besides high-ranking officials who helped him by flouting rules, and the Pulwama attack pointed to the vested interests of some big functionaries.
Claiming that Goswami is not ‘the only culprit’, Thorat said that many Central ministers have violated their oath to help the Republic TV chief earn commercial gains, and action must be taken against all those who were party to the entire episode.
Last week, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that the state government will seek legal opinion to examine how it could proceed against the Republic TV chief in the matter which concerned critical aspects of national security.