Criticising the Centre for not taking cognisance of the Opposition’s demand for a detailed inquiry into the Pegasus row, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said that “the people of the country will see Pegasus as another associated branch of CBI, ED and Income Tax”.
The party, in its mouthpiece Saamana, also praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for setting up a panel to probe the Pegasus snooping row. It added that chief ministers of other states should safeguard the rights and civil liberties of citizens and Mamata has done the job of “awakening all”.
“It is the duty of the ruling party rather than the Opposition to ensure smooth functioning of the Parliament. So, the biggest threat to democracy is that the government does not want Parliament to function and the (Pegasus) issue to be discussed,” the editorial said. “The people of the country will see Pegasus as another associated branch of the CBI, ED and Income Tax because the Centre is not taking cognisance of the issue,” it added.
On Monday, Banerjee had announced a commission of inquiry to probe the alleged surveillance of phones using Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group. Retired Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur and retired chief justice of Calcutta High Court, Jyotirmay Bhattacharya, have been appointed as members of the commission.
“This is why Mamata Banerjee’s bold step is important. She set up a judicial commission and initiated an inquiry. She did want the Centre was supposed to do. So, in West Bengal, Mamata fought like a tigress and won. The chief ministers of others states should safeguard the rights of citizens and civil liberties. Mamata has done the job of awakening all,” said Sena.
The editorial further said that it is mysterious that the Centre does not consider the issue of the alleged phone tapping of two Union ministers, some MPs, Supreme Court judges, officials of the armed forces and journalists as serious. “In this backdrop, Banerjee has given a jolt to the Centre by setting up a judicial commission,” it added.