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Pegasus project: Congress demands SC monitored judicial probe; to hit streets

KC Venugopal said the Congress would hold protests outside Raj Bhawans in all states on Thursday demanding a judicial investigation into the revelations.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 21, 2021 3:32:46 am
Pegasus project: Congress demands SC monitored judicial probe; to hit streetsCongress MP Mallikarjun Kharge speaks in the Rajya Sabha, on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, July 19, 2021. (RSTV/PTI File Photo)

THE CONGRESS on Tuesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored judicial investigation into revelations that opposition leaders, union ministers, journalists and many others were potential targets of the Pegasus spyware and decided to hit the streets and continue raising the issue in Parliament demanding answers from the government.

With fresh reports by The Wire suggesting that the phone numbers of former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy’s secretary, former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara and an aide of senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah were selected as potential targets for snooping in the days before the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in 2019, the Congress said it has become clear that snooping played a role in the toppling of the coalition government.

“Today, the revelations were about Karnataka. I believe by indulging in spying… by gaining information… they have toppled the governments in Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh… and now they are trying to meddle in Maharashtra too… so we have no option but to fight and go to the people… We will continue to raise this issue in Parliament,” Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

He was flanked by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala.

Chowdhury said the BJP government has become a government “of the surveillance, for the surveillance and by the surveillance… this is Modi’s new India”.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. How many more names… and how many more disgusting things they have done… all are yet to come out,” he said.

“The party which is in power at the Centre should not play such dirty games and indulge in such crimes,” Siddaramaiah said, arguing that tapping of phones played a role in toppling of the Congress-JD(S) government.

Venugopal said the Congress would hold protests outside Raj Bhawans in all states on Thursday demanding a judicial investigation into the revelations. “The simple question before the country today is… who is safe in this country? Everybody has to be careful in this country nowadays. There is no privacy,” he said.

In the context of Karnataka, the Congress also raised questions on the Supreme Court’s 2019 order that the 15 rebel MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the Assembly session. The order prevented both parties from issuing whips to ensure presence of the rebel MLAs on the floor of the House.

Surjewala referred to reports that the phone numbers used by the woman who in April 2019 accused the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment and eight other numbers used by her husband and two of his brothers were marked as possible candidates for surveillance.

“So the Modi government was spying on the woman and her relatives. The Supreme Court is neutral isn’t it…the arbiter… so what do we conclude… for the first time, the anti-defection law was negated and Ranjan Gogoi gave that decision… and on the other hand the government was tapping the phones of that woman and her relatives…,” he said.

 

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