Pegasus Row: Cong Calls for Probe; BJP Says ‘Not a Shred of Evidence’
Ex-IT Minister Prasad said that there was 'not a shred of evidence' linking the government to the allegations.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, 19 May, former IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stated that there was 'not a shred of evidence' linking the Union government or the BJP to the Pegasus spyware operation, and suggested that the development was a ploy of the Opposition and other entities to defame the Centre.
"Why these kinds of questions are raised at the time of important events? Riots were incited during Trump's visit, Pegasus story was circulated during 2019 polls and again it's in the news when Parliament is in session & when Congress is in a very bad situation," Prasad said.
He suggested that the report, which came a day before the commencement of the Monsoon session of Parliament, was an attempt to disrupt the parliamentary proceedings.
A series of reports published by an Indian online news portal, on Sunday and Monday, revealed that Israeli firm NSO-made spyware Pegasus was believed to have been used to snoop on at least 300 Indian phone numbers, including those of over 40 senior journalists, opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, government officials and rights activists.
The reports have invited the Opposition's censure of the BJP-led government, which has also called for an independent inquiry into the allegations.
"BJP strongly refutes, condemns the baseless & bereft of political propriety comments levelled by Congress against the BJP. It is a new low for a party that has ruled India for more than 50 years," Prasad said in response to the criticism levelled against the government, ANI reported.
Further, the former IT Minister questioned the veracity of the report that has been published by The Wire, in conjunction with several international media houses such as The Washington Post and The Guardian, as well as the global human rights organisation Amnesty International.
"But is it not true that many of their stories have been found to be wrong?" Prasad said, alluding to The Wire, adding that bodies such as Amnesty International have a "declared anti-India agenda in many ways."
What the Opposition Has Said
Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, demanded an investigation into the matter. "PM & HM are involved in snooping on Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, journalists & even Union ministers. Before a probe, Amit Shah sahab should resign & an inquiry should be conducted against Modi sahab," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
AR Chowdhury, who leads Congress in the Lok Sabha, suggested that NSO, which is a tool to fight crime and terror, is being used by the Indian government to surveil people who speak against Modi.
"We will raise this matter along with all Opposition parties in the Parliament tomorrow," Chowdhury said on Monday, ANI reported.
(With inputs from ANI)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.