Congress chides govt’s Pegasus response, seeks thorough probe

The Congress has chided the Centre for its reluctance to state ‘yes or no’ before the Supreme Court on whether the regime or its agencies had acquired, and used, the spyware Pegasus on public personalities and members of the media and institutions. The opposition party also reiterated its demand for a comprehensive probe into the matter by arguing the media expose on Pegasus use showed how all four pillars of the Indian democracy had been ‘dented’ by the use of the spyware.

“The government is asked to simply answer in “yes” or “no” on whether the Government of India, or any of its ministry and agencies, had officially purchased Pegasus spyware weapon or not. But, no one from the government is replying. In Parliament also nobody answered this question. Later Rajnath Singh Ji had responded by saying “my ministry had not used”. That way, I&B ministry or some other ministry will say also “my ministry had not used it”. We are not seeking ministry-wise answers. The government is not giving a clear answer in ‘yes or no’. Therefore, there should be a comprehensive inquiry,” Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said on Monday.

Pointing out how the media expose had already detailed how phones of important public figures, opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and members of media and other institutions were hacked by the spyware, he said an inquiry was essential to find out all details. If at all government denied the use of the spyware, Vallabh said, it would be equally important to probe who else did the illegal use of the Pegasus against Indian citizens.

Vallabh also hit out at UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath for calling the Congress “mother of terrorism”. Vallabh said, “I am sorry to say the CM of the biggest state is a cheap and mean person… The Congress party has a long history of fighting against terrorism and many of our leaders have sacrificed their lives in the fight against terrorism. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by the first terrorist of the nation, Nathuram Godse. From Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi to Beat Singh, VC Shukla to Mahendra Karma, Anand Kumar Patel to hundreds of party workers have sacrificed their lives in the fight against terrorism. Can Yogi Adityanath mention one instance of his party shedding even a drop of blood to fight terror?” He also demanded answers on “why PM Modi kept mum about Taliban at Brics summit”.

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