Attack on Indian state: Rahul Gandhi slams Modi over Pegasus
New Delhi/IBNS: Cornering the Modi government further over the Pegasus spyware issue, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi Friday accused the ruling dispensation of attacking the "Indian state" allegedly by snooping.
In a press brief, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of using Pegasus against the "Indian state" and "institutions" including the Supreme Court.
"The Israel government has classified Pegasus as a weapon. The weapon is supposed to be used against terrorists. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have used this weapon against the Indian state and our institutions. They have used it politically, in Karnataka, to scuttle probes, against the Supreme Court and all the institutions in the country.
"The only word for this is treason. There is no other word for this. This has to be investigated and the Home Minister has to resign," he said.
"This is not an attack on Rahul Gandhi or an individual but the Indian state," the top Congress leader said and added, "If the Indian government did not use Pegasus, then definitely any other government has done this because the software can be sold to vetted governments. Why doesn't the Prime Minister say he will get the matter investigated? Why is the Prime Minister saying 'I have not done'? He should answer whether the government has bought it or not."
Gandhi, who featured in the list of individuals who were reportedly snooped, said his phone was "tapped" but it "doesn't matter" to him.
"I am not a potential target. My phone is tapped. It is clearly tapped. But it doesn't matter to me," he said and added, "In Indian politics, one who is not corrupt has no fear of Modi."
More than 1,000 phone numbers in India appeared on the snooping list of the Pegasus, stated a collaborative investigation report by The Wire, The Washington Post and other media partners in 10 countries.
Names of high profile Indian political personalities like Rahul Gandhi, former poll strategist Prashant Kishor, new IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister Prahlad Patel and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee among others have featured in the potential target list of the Israeli spyware, The Wire had earlier reported in an explosive revelation.
NSO had denied the snooping allegations, claiming that it only offers its spyware to "vetted governments" and said it was "considering a defamation lawsuit".
However, forensic tests had confirmed that some of them were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, The Wire reported.
The data was accessed by Paris-based nonprofit journalism organisation Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and then shared with the Guardian, The Wire and other media outlets as part of the Pegasus project.