Updated: July 24, 2021 11:01:25 am
Days after it was reported that his phone was on a list of potential targets for surveillance using the Pegasus spyware, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Friday that not only all his phones are “tapped” but his security personnel had been asked to report to their seniors everything he said.
Gandhi accused the BJP government of having used the Pegasus spyware, which he called a weapon, against the Indian state and institutions.
Gandhi said he was not a potential target. “My phone is tapped. It is clearly tapped, so it is not a potential target.”
“It is not only this phone, every single phone of mine is tapped. And let me tell you another thing, I get phone calls from IB people who tap my phone. They call me up and say please be aware that we are tapping your phone. Also, by the way, my security people tell me that they have to debrief what I say and they have to report to their seniors everything I say. So, I am under no pretensions that I am not tapped,” Gandhi told reporters.
“This has happened to me three-four times. My friends were called and told to tell Rahul Gandhi that his phones are being tapped,” he added. The SPG cover of Gandhi as also his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and sister and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were withdrawn by the Government in 2019. It is the CRPF which now provides close proximate security cover to all three.
“If Rahul Gandhi feels that his phones are being tapped…then as per law of the land he should hand over his phones for investigation. And if it is confirmed…then action can be initiated under the IPC,” BJP leader and former minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said. He claimed Gandhi’s strategy seems to be to not let Parliament function.
Attacking the Government over the revelations involving Pegasus spyware made and licensed by Israeli company NSO, Gandhi said while Israel has classified Pegasus as a “weapon” which is supposed to be used against terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have used this weapon against the “Indian state and against our institutions.”
“They have used it politically. They have used it in Karnataka. They have used it to scuttle probes, they have used it against the Supreme Court…they have used it against all the institutions of this country, against our democracy. The only word for this is treason. There is no other word for this and this has to be investigated and the Home Minister has to resign,” Gandhi said.
“My phone was tapped. But it is not about my privacy….I am an Opposition leader and I give voice to the people and raise their issues. This is an attack against the voice of the people. They used Pegasus to stop the investigation into the Rafale deal…Narendra Modiji has used this weapon against our country,” he added. “The Home Minister should resign and there should be a judicial inquiry…Supreme Court inquiry on Narendra Modi because no one else can give authorisation for Pegasus…only the Prime Minister and Home Minister can give authorisation,” he added.
Asked about revelations that the phones used by industrialist Anil Ambani were also potential targets of surveillance, he said: “I have said very clearly that there has been gross theft in Rafale… There is an enquiry in France and, you will see, the Prime Minister himself is responsible for corruption in Rafale…You can’t buy everybody.” He said the question the Government needs to answer is if it bought Pegasus or not.