New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central Government stating that it has committed treason while reacting to a US media report claiming that the Indian government bought the Pegasus spy tool in 2017 as part of a deal with Israel.
“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,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Besides Rahul Gandhi, other leaders of the Congress also attacked Centre over the report by New York Times.
“Why did Modi Govt act like the enemies of India and use a warfare weapon against Indian citizens? Illegal snooping using Pegasus amounts to treason. No one is above the law and we will ensure that justice is served,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge tweeted.
In a press conference, Congress’ Randeep Surjewala said, “Modi government purchased Pegasus Spyware in 2017 and other military technology as the ‘centrepieces’ of a package including ‘weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly USD 2 billion’ from Israel during PM Modi’s visit. It is not a coincidence that the Budget of National Security COuncil Secretariat (NSCS) reporting to NSA went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 333 crore in 2017-18.”
He added, “Modi Government deployed Pegasus spyware for snooping and spying upon Rahul Gandhi and his staff members; former PM HD Deve Gowda, former Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy, former BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje; Cabinet Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, his wife and staff; IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav and his wife; OSD of Union Minister Smriti Irani; Abhishek Banerjee, MP and nephew of Mamata Banerjee; Praveen Togadia, former head of VHP and others.”
Not just them, Supreme Court judges, Election Commission of India, CBI Director Alok Verma, among others were also targeted by Pegasus, Surjewala stated.
The report by The New York Times said that the Israeli spyware Pegasus and a missile system were the “centrepieces” of the USD 2 billion deal in 2017 when Prime Minister Modi visited Israel.
first published:Jan. 29, 2022, 1:58 p.m.