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Pegasus Snoopgate: Shashi Tharoor-Led Parliamentary Panel To Question IT & Home Ministry

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New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Shashi Tharoor will question the Union Ministry of Information and Technology and the Union Home Ministry in the Pegasus espionage case. In the Pegasus scandal, there is an allegation of snooping the conversations of thousands of people from all over the country and abroad.

It is claimed that the phones of many journalists and politicians were tapped by the Israeli Pegasus software, and the phone records have been provided to the government. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT Affairs headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will hold a meeting on ‘Citizen Data Security and Privacy’ related to Pegasus. 

Inquiry In WhatsApp Case In 2019 

The committee will call representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ministry of Communications to the meeting and will question them on the snooping allegations.  

This is not the first time the panel has raised the issue of Israeli spyware. In 2019, after the vulnerabilities of WhatsApp were revealed, the panel heard about the issue from the concerned departments.

For two consecutive days, there is a deadlock in the Parliament due to the Pegasus case. Opposition parties allege that when it is certain that Israel sells Pegasus software data only to governments, then the Indian government should explain. 

Accusation Of Spying On Rahul Gandhi & Several Journalists

India’s news website Wire, American Washington Post, and many foreign media have claimed under the Pegasus project that many people of the country are being spied on by this spyware. According to the International Media Association, over 300 mobile phone numbers were hacked using the Israeli spyware Pegasus.

The phone data of 2 ministers, over 40 journalists, 3 opposition leaders, and 1 sitting judge was hacked. The phone details of several businessmen and activists in India were also hacked including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishor, many big leaders, Supreme Court judges, and others. 

Government’s Refusal 

However, the government denies any involvement in this. On Monday, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has said that there is no fact in this espionage case. He said that there is a strongly established procedure in the country for this, under which electronic communication is intercepted lawfully in the matter of national security, especially in those situations where it is a matter of public interest.

In such a situation, unauthorized surveillance is not done under any circumstances. Shashi Tharoor tweeted regarding the Pegasus case and said, ‘It has been proven that the phone tested in India had Pegasus attack because this product is sold only to the government.’

ALSO READ | TMC Uses Pegasus Software, Phone Tapping Not Our Work’: BJP’s Retort To Mamata’s Outburst

ALSO READ | ‘Centre Should Be Plastered, They Don’t Trust Their Own Ministers’: CM Mamata On Pegasus Row

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