Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today accused the Narendra Modi government of committing treason by targetting political leaders, army officials and judiciary using the Pegasus spyware. Rahul Gandhi’s comment came after a report published in the New York Times claimed that the Indian government purchased the spyware software from Israel in 2017.
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Modi government bought the spyware to snoop on the primary institutions of Indian democracy as well as the public. “Modi Govt bought Pegasus to spy on our primary democratic institutions, politicians and public. Govt functionaries, opposition leaders, armed forces, judiciary all were targeted by these phone tappings. This is treason. Modi Govt has committed treason,” alleged Rahul Gandhi.
The Pegasus case is currently subjudiced as the Supreme Court of India had formed a committee to probe the matter. The top court had appointed a three-member technical committee overseen by Justice R V Raveendran, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, to probe the allegations of snooping. The three members of the committee are Prof Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar; Dr. Prabaharan P., Prof Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kerala and Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Prof, IIT Bombay.
The NYT report, which has been covered widely by Indian media, claimed that India purchased Pegasus in 2017 as a part of $2-billion package for weapons including a missile system.
The Pegasus row had erupted in India on July 18, a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament last year, after a global media report which claimed that phones of ministers, opposition politicians, judges, activists, businessmen and journalists were tapped using the Pegasus spyware.