New Delhi: Reacting to the Government of India’s recent statement regarding the spyware Pegasus the Congress leader Shashi Tharoor called for an independent investigation into Pegagus.
On Sunday night he tweeted “GoI has denied resorting to unauthorized surveillance. The question this raises is, if Pegasus is only sold to governments, which other govts (China/Pak?) are using it to snoop on prominent Indian citizens? Shouldn’t the authorities call for an independent investigation?“
The Government of India junked away media reports which claimed that phone numbers of more than 40 Indian journalists appeared in a list that is believed to be possible candidates for surveillance using Israel-made spyware ‘Pegasus’. In an official statement issued on Sunday evening, the central government said that the news report appears to be a “fishing expedition, based on conjectures and exaggerations to malign the Indian democracy and its institutions.”
It further said that, “India’s Minister of Electronics & IT has also spoken in detail, including in the Parliament, that there has been no unauthorized interception by Government agencies. It is important to note that Government agencies have a well-established protocol for the interception, which includes sanction and supervision from highly ranked officials in central & state governments, for clearly stated reasons only in the national interest.”
Centre’s response came after the Wire in its report published on Sunday claimed that forensic tests have confirmed some of these Indian journalists were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware.
According to the report, the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance includes “numbers of top journalists at big media houses like the Hindustan Times, including executive editor Shishir Gupta, India Today, Network18, The Hindu and Indian Express.”
The Guardian too confirmed the news and reported that more than 180 editors, investigative reporters and other journalists around the world appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance. These include journalists who work for some of the world’s most prestigious media organisations such as Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times, Al Jazeera.