Congress, CPI demand probe into Pegasus snooping case by Joint Parliamentary Committee
The Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the government over the Pegasus snooping controversy and demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The Opposition party along with other parties also stalled proceedings of both houses of Parliament while raising the issue.
Opposition members raised uproar in both houses and demanded a thorough probe into the charges of snooping on journalists, politicians, ministers, judges and others using Israeli Pegasus spyware.
Leaders of various political parties also met before the start of proceedings in both houses of Parliament to decide their strategy on the issue.
Several of them had also given adjournment notices in both houses demanding a discussion on the issue.
Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the government should clearly tell whether it has purchased the Pegasus spyware or not and hold a joint parliamentary probe.
"We had given adjournment notices in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha to hold a discussion on the violation of national security and the fundamental rights under the Constitution over the phone tapping issue," Gohil told reporters.
He said the party's demand is that the government should order a joint parliamentary committee probe into the snooping and phone tapping issue.
"The minister, who was trying to create confusion on the matter should answer clearly whether the government has bought the Pegasus spyware or not. If yes, then the government should order a joint parliamentary committee probe to investigate the entire matter," he said.
The government on Monday categorically rejected in Lok Sabha allegations of snooping on politicians, journalists and others using Pegasus software, asserting that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country's laws, and alleged that attempts were being made to malign Indian democracy.
An international media consortium reported on Sunday that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the spyware.
CPI also demands for a JPC probe
The CPI has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for "snooping into number of phones of opposition leaders, journalists, activists and numerous others".
In a statement on Tuesday, the party said the people of the country has every right to know the truth in the matter.
"The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India is shocked to learn that Israeli spy software Pegasus has been snooping into number of phones of opposition leaders, journalists, activists and numerous others.
"The Modi government is in good relations with the government of Israel. People are questioning how such surveillance can be conducted without the knowledge and consent of the Indian government. Truth therefore should come out," the statement said.
The government has said "any sort of illegal surveillance" by unauthorised persons is not possible in India.
The CPI also said that the Indian Constitution grants right to privacy to all citizens and the Supreme Court has also upheld this right.
"The Modi government since it came to power has been continuously attacking the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens and states in order to push its anti-people and anti-federal policies.
"The National Secretariat demands a thorough probe into the entire incident by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) as the people of the country have every right to know the truth," it said.
All Opposition parties the Congress, the CPI(M) and the TMC Monday demanded a probe into the issue.
An international media consortium reported Sunday that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the spyware.