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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Express Investigation: Was Modi govt aware of Chinese surveillance, asks Congress

The surveillance assumes significance when an increasingly assertive China is locked in a simmering standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and is pushing against many of its neighbours in the region and beyond.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 14, 2020 1:59:44 pm
PTIs clash, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Chandigarh news, Haryana news, Indian express newsCongress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Taking note of the Indian Express investigation, the Congress on Monday sought to know if the Narendra Modi-led government was aware of the Chinese surveillance on over 10,000 Indians and demanded that a clear message be sent to Beijing to prevent them from indulging in such activities.

The surveillance assumes significance when an increasingly assertive China is locked in a simmering standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and is pushing against many of its neighbours in the region and beyond.

Taking to Twitter, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala wondered why the Centre was yet to resolve the border dispute which erupted in May this year.

“If the report is true, then a) was the Modi government aware of this serious case? Or they didn’t know that there were being spied upon? b) Why is the government failing to protect our borders over and over again? c) a clear message needs to be sent out to China to prevent them from indulging in such activities,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.

A Shenzen-based technology company with links to the Chinese government, and the Chinese Communist Party, is monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations in its global database of “foreign targets,” an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.

The range of targets in India identified and monitored in real time by Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited is sweeping — in both breadth and depth.

From President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and their families; Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Ashok Gehlot and Amarinder Singh to Uddhav Thackeray, Naveen Patnaik and Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad to Nirmala SitharamanSmriti Irani, and Piyush Goyal; Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Singh Rawat to at least 15 former Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force; Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde and brother judge AM Khanwilkar to Lokpal Justice P C Ghose and Comptroller and Auditor General G C Murmu; start-up tech entrepreneurs like Nipun Mehra, founder of Bharat Pe (an Indian payment app), and Ajay Trehan of AuthBridge, an authentication technology firm, to top industrialists Ratan Tata and Gautam Adani.

Not just influential individuals in the political and official establishment, Indians being monitored cut across disciplines. They include bureaucrats in key positions; judges; scientists and academicians; journalists; actors and sportspersons; religious figures and activists. And even hundreds accused of financial crime, corruption, terrorism, and smuggling of narcotics, gold, arms or wildlife.

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