Fri, 27 May 2022

New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) purchased Pegasus spyware from Israel during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in July 2017 and termed it as an "act of treason.""Brazen hijack of democracy and act of treason. Modi government purchased Pegasus in 2017 along with other military technologies as the centerpiece of a package, including weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly USD 2 Bn from Israel during PM Modi's visit," said Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewalaa while addressing a press conference here in Delhi.

The Congress leader accused the Prime Minister of himself being involved in the spyware deal and alleged that the BJP government is "deployer and executor of illegal and unconstitutional spying.""Shocking and new expose in an international publication has now established what INC always maintained, that Modi government is deployer and executor of illegal and unconstitutional spying and snooping racket through Israeli surveillance spyware Pegasus and PM Modi is himself involved," said Surjewala.

He also alleged that the increase in the budget of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) reporting to the national security advisor (NSA) went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 333 crore in 2017-18.

In July 2021, names of several Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire.

However, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said there is 'no substance' in the media report regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp, adding that the report was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.

Later, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, SNM Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh, and Ipsa Shatakshi, who are reported to be on the potential list of snoop targets of Pegasus spyware, had also approached the Supreme Court along with The Editors Guild of India (EGI) among others.

The Supreme Court, had in October last year, formed a three-member committee to oversee a technical committee comprising of three members, including those who are experts in cyber security, digital forensics, networks, and hardware, which will probe Pegasus spyware case. (ANI)

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