Fri, 20 May 2022

New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): Congress on Saturday once again put up strong allegations on the Central government on the issue of Pegasus Software Purchase stating that the Modi government deployed it for snooping and spying upon Rahul Gandhi and his staff members.

"The shocking new expose in an international publication has now confirmed what the Indian National Congress has long asserted - "The Modi Government is the deployer and executor of the illegal and unconstitutional snooping and spying racket through Israeli surveillance spyware Pegasus and the Prime Minister PM Modi Modi is himself involved!," said Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewalaa while addressing a press conference here in Delhi.

"This is a brazen 'Hijack of Democracy' and 'An Act of Treason', said Congress.

Surjewala also said that the five damning truths about the Pegasus purchase software are now clear by adding "Modi Government purchased Pegasus Spyware in 2017 and other military technology as the "centrepieces" of a package including "weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly USD 2 billion" from Israel during PM Modi's visit.

He also alleged that it is not a coincidence that the Budget of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) reporting to NSA went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 333 crore in 2017-18.The Congress leader asserted that the spyware Pegasus not only breaches Whatsapp and phone but is also able to turn over the cellphones camera and microphone to capture all activities in the vicinity of the phone, besides hacking all the security features of the phone and can also plant fake material into the cellphone to falsely incriminate people.Continuing his allegations on Modi Government over the issue, he said that it deployed Pegasus spyware for snooping and spying upon Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his staff members (former PM Deve Gowda, former Chief Ministers - Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy), former BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia; BJP Cabinet Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, his wife and staff, former head of VHP and others.In addition, Supreme Court judges, Election Commission of India, CBI Director Alok Verma and his wife and family, advocates, activists and even journalists of prominent media organisations and many others were also targeted by Pegasus, he added.

Surjewala also alleged that the Modi Government duped and deceived Parliament.

He also alleged that the Ministry of Home Affairs also deceived the people of India by denying the purchase of Pegasus in response to an RTI query.

"Defence Minister and Defence Ministry also on record misled the Parliament and the people by denying purchase of Pegasus spyware from NSO. The BJP machinery engaged in a massive and coordinated strategy to dupe and betray the Indian public," he said.

Modi government misled the Supreme Court which directly questioned it on the purchase and use of the questionable software.

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, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav had attacked the reports of India's Pegasus use as "baseless" and "highly sensational".

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 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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