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'Only Word for This is Treason': Rahul Gandhi Slams Centre Over Pegasus Report

The leader went on to demand the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah and urged a probe into the matter.

Updated
India
2 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 23 July castigated the Narendra Modi-led government over the Pegasus-spyware leak, saying that the prime minister and the home minister had used the Israeli weapon against the Indian state and its institutions.

"They used it (Pegasus) politically; they used it in Karnataka; they used it to scuttle probes; they used it against the Supreme Court and all institutions of this country. The only word for this is treason. There is no other word for this."
Rahul Gandhi

Reports published by venerated news organisations across the world on 18 July revealed that Israel-made spyware Pegasus was believed to have been used to snoop on thousands of phone numbers, including around 300 Indian phone numbers belonging to several journalists, leading politicians, government officials, and human rights activists.

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Gandhi himself reportedly features on the list of potential targets. At least two mobile phone accounts used by Gandhi were among the several Indian contacts listed as 'potential targets'. Other than Gandhi, numbers of five of his friends and acquaintances were also reportedly targeted.

As per the NSO Group, which is the developer of the software, the spyware is only sold to 'vetted' sovereign governments.

Reiterating this claim, Gandhi said on Friday, "The main question is that has the government not paid for this? Can you buy Pegasus? Can I buy Pegasus? Only a government can buy Pegasus. The Home Minister's signature is needed for it."

The leader went on to demand the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah and urged a probe into the matter.

"If the Indian government hasn't done it, some other government must have. Shouldn't there be an enquiry," he said.

"My phone was tapped. It's not a matter of Rahul Gandhi's privacy. I'm an Opposition leader, I raise the voice of the people. This is an attack on those voices," he said, adding that there should be a Supreme Court inquiry against PM Narendra Modi.

Speaking on his name appearing in the list of potential targets for surveillance, he underlined that his phone was "clearly tapped".

The leader said, "I am not a 'potential target'. My phone is tapped, it is clearly tapped."

Should Submit Phone to Probe Agency: BJP Responds

Meanwhile, responding to Gandhi, BJP on Friday said that Gandhi should submit his phone to a probe agency if he thinks it was tapped, and reiterated that nobody's phones were being surveilled, reported PTI.

Speaking to reporters, BJP spokesperson Rajyavardhan Rathore said that Congress is determined to stall the Parliament for one reason or another.

Rathore went on to say that everybody has the right to what they want in a democracy, adding that if Gandhi were to submit his phone to a probe agency, an investigation will take place as per the Indian Penal Code.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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