Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Amid raging controversy over Pegasus spyware, state Congress president Kamal Nath on Wednesday demanded to know as to who taped the phones of high profile people if Government of India didn’t purchase the spyware from Israel.
Talking to newspersons here, Nath said Centre should submit an affidavit in the court that its hands are clean in the Pegasus issue. He said the government of France had already instituted an inquiry into the issue but the government of India is still beating around the bushes.
He said Israel firm, which produced software had already made it clear that it sold the software to only governments of countries, not to the private persons and even the state governments. He asked if union government didn’t purchase the software and the licence, then who were the forces who had taped the phones of the important people of the nation.
“If snooping was done by any other country like China, then the issue becomes more serious and union government should take strict action in the matter”, he added.
He said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will continue to defend the central government for obvious reasons. He will do it even during the state assembly’s monsoon session.
The ex-CM Kamal Nath stated that an expert from Bangaluru hired by the economic offences wing (EOW) had found that more than 90 tenders were tampered with during the BJP government regime. “Till now, no action has been taken by Chouhan’s government in connection with the report,” alleged Nath.
On Tuesday, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleged that the Congress deliberately raised the issue of Pegasus software ahead of Parliament’s monsoon session.
Kamal Nath termed the alleged snooping by the Israeli spyware Pegasus as the "biggest attack on the privacy" of people and demanded a probe into it by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
He also said that the Centre should file an affidavit in the Supreme Court that it did not use this spyware. He said the Centre is denying the charges of snooping through the Pegasus spyware.
The Union government should clarify whether it (the spyware) was purchased for the "national security or Modi security", he said. Nath said the Centre should "file an affidavit in the Supreme Court that it had not obtained this spyware and its license from the Israel-based NSO (company)".
"This alleged snooping is the biggest attack on privacy...an investigation should also be carried out into the matter by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, whose phone was not snooped upon. The judge should be appointed (for the probe) with the consent of the opposition parties," the Congress leader said.
Nath noted that France has already ordered an inquiry into the alleged spying by Pegasus. An international media consortium on Sunday reported that several verified mobile phone numbers, including of two serving ministers, various journalists, some opposition leaders and a sitting judge besides scores of business persons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the Israeli spyware sold only to government agencies.
The government, however, dismissed allegations of any kind of surveillance on its part on specific people, saying it "has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever".