Controversial Coast Guard official to be court-martialled

Controversial Indian Coast Guard (ICG) officer B K Loshali is set to be court-martialled for publicly opposing the government's stand on the explosion on a Pakistani boat off Gujarat in the intervening night of December 31 and January 1.

The decision follows a Board of Inquiry (BoI) report that found him guilty and recommended strong action.

Seeking approval
Defence Ministry sources said the proceedings would begin next month. Initiation of court martial would require concurrence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. However, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said he did not know if Parrikar had approved the action.

Parrikar had in February said Loshali would be probed, and if found guilty, would face action for opposing the government's version on how the Pakistani boat exploded and sank in the Arabian Sea.

The officer had, in a video, been seen taking credit in front of an audience for blowing up the boat that was to undertake some “illicit transaction”. “We blow them off. We blow off Pakistan. I was there at Gandhinagar and I said at night, 'Blow the boat off. We don't want to serve them biryani',” he was seen claiming.

Controversial statement
His contradiction of the government’s stand triggered a controversy. The official version was that the four-member crew hid in the boat and set it on fire after a hot pursuit, leading to a huge explosion.

The obvious inference was that the boat was carrying large cache of explosives.
“It has been established from the Commanding Officer of the India Coast Guard Ship Rajratan, involved in the operation on the night of December 31, 2014, that he had received no communication from DIG B K Loshali,” said the ICG in a statement.

Loshali was served a show-cause notice and the BoI was instituted in February after his reply was found “unsatisfactory”.

The probe report was submitted to the ICG headquarters in April, and subsequently studied at various levels.

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