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Pegasus row: Congress demands probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee

Opposition members raised uproar in both houses and demanded a thorough probe into the charges of snooping on journalists, politicians, ministers, judges and others using Israeli Pegasus spyware.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: July 20, 2021 4:22:41 pm
The Opposition party along with other parties also stalled proceedings of both houses of Parliament while raising the issue. (PTI)

The Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the government over the Pegasus snooping controversy and demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

The opposition party along with other parties also stalled proceedings of both houses of Parliament while raising the issue.

Opposition members raised uproar in both houses and demanded a thorough probe into the charges of snooping on journalists, politicians, ministers, judges and others using Israeli Pegasus spyware.

Leaders of various political parties also met before the start of proceedings in both houses of Parliament to decide their strategy on the issue. Several of them had also given adjournment notices in both houses demanding a discussion on the issue.

Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the government should clearly tell whether it has purchased the Pegasus spyware or not and hold a joint parliamentary probe. “We had given adjournment notices in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha to hold a discussion on the violation of national security and the fundamental rights under the Constitution over the phone tapping issue,” Gohil told reporters.

He said the party’s demand is that the government should order a joint parliamentary committee probe into the snooping and phone tapping issue. “The minister, who was trying to create confusion on the matter should answer clearly whether the government has bought the Pegasus spyware or not. If yes, then the government should order a joint parliamentary committee probe to investigate the entire matter,” he said.

The government on Monday categorically rejected in Lok Sabha allegations of snooping on politicians, journalists and others using Pegasus software, asserting that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country’s laws, and alleged that attempts were being made to malign Indian democracy.

An international media consortium reported on Sunday that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the spyware.

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