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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Pegasus ‘non-issue’, govt ready for discussion on people-related issues: Union Minister Pralhad Joshi

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said that Opposition parties can still seek clarification from IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on his statement over the matter.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2021 7:21:07 pm
Pegasus spyware issue, India Pegasus issue, Parliament Pegasus, Pegasus parliament news, Parliamaent Pegasus spyware issue, Opposition Pegasus, indian expressUnion Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (PTI)

With Opposition members continuing to disrupt Parliament over the alleged Pegasus snooping issue, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday said the controversy was a “non-issue” and that the government was ready for discussion on people-related issues.

Calling the Opposition behaviour “unfortunate”, the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister urged the protesting members to allow the House to function.

Noting that the IT Minister has already given a detailed statement on the issue in both the Houses, Joshi said, “There are so many issues directly related to the people of India… government is ready for discussions,” he said.

“We don’t want to pass bills without discussions,” Joshi was further quoted as saying by PTI.

Later, while interacting with reporters after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day, Joshi said that Opposition parties can still seek clarification from IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on his statement over the matter.

A global collaborative investigative project has revealed that the Pegasus spyware was used to target over 300 mobile phone numbers in India, including that of Ministers in the Narendra Modi government, various Opposition leaders, a constitutional authority, and several journalists and business persons.

The issue has also been the cause for multiple disruptions of the Parliament’s Monsoon Session as Opposition parties have united to protest against the alleged snooping and demanded a discussion into the matter in both the Houses.

However, the Narendra Modi-led government has denied allegations that the Pegasus spyware was being used to snoop on public figures. It has also called the report “sensational”, and an attempt “to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court said that it will be taking up next week a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed regarding the Pegasus snooping issue. The development came after senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar sought an SIT probe, headed by a sitting or former judge, into the allegations. Their lawyer, Kapil Sibal, had requested Chief Justice N V Ramana to list the petition.

The Pegasus spyware issue has snowballed into a political controversy, disrupting Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha since the start of the Monsoon session on July 19.

(Inputs from PTI)

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