SC asks Modi govt to respond to Pegasus allegations, says 'won't compromise with national security'
New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the central government to respond to the snooping allegations though said it would not ask the Centre to disclose the details, media reports said.
The top court said it would form a committee to investigate the allegations but only after getting a response from the Centre.
"We don't want to compromise with the security of the nation or interfere with Defence Ministry protocols. We will not ask you to disclose... But the issue is simple. Individuals here are submitting that interception of their phones happened and this can be done by permission of competent authority. So what is the problem with the competent authority to file an affidavit before us, without compromising national security and defence issues?" the top court said as quoted by NDTV.
Government lawyer Tushar Mehta argued, "We have nothing to hide from the court. We will place everything before the court mandated committee that will be set up. But it cannot be put out into public through affidavits. Tomorrow, web portals will say military resources were used illegally. Let us have a committee and we will place all the information before it."
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners Editors Guild of India and journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, said, "We also don't want national security to be compromised, just want the government to answer whether it used Pegasus or not."
The next hearing will take place after 10 days.
Indian politics was rocked last month after several media reports including The Hindu claimed Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to snoop on influential people in various countries including India.
It was alleged that the Pegasus spyware, which can only be sold to a vetted government, was used to snoop on high profile individuals including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw, Prahlad Patel, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee, former political strategist Prashant Kishor.