Updated: July 23, 2021 12:03:12 pm
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shantanu Sen was suspended for the remainder of the Monsoon Session on Friday, a day after he tore up the statement which Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had prepared on the Pegasus row.
On Thursday, Sen rushed into the Well of the Upper House, snatched the paper held by Vaishnaw and tore it up.
Sen was among the several Opposition leaders who had entered the Well in protest against the alleged snooping controversy. As Vaishnaw rose to speak, the House erupted in slogans of “Jasoosi band karo, band karo (stop spying)”.
Addressing the House, Vaishnaw had said, “A highly sensational story was published by a web portal on July 18, 2021. Many over-the-top allegations were made around this story. The press report appeared a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament. This can’t be a coincidence.”
“In the past, similar claims were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports had no factual basis and were categorically denied by all parties, including in the Supreme Court. The press reports of 18 July, 2021, are also an attempt to malign the Indian democracy with its well-established institutions. We cannot fault those who haven’t read the story in detail, and I request all honourable members to examine the issue on facts and logic,” the Minister added.
Vaishnaw was referring to the disclosures made by digital news platform The Wire, as part of a global collaborative investigation, on 300 Indian numbers listed as potential targets of the Pegasus spyware by Israeli’s NSO Group.
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