Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday took exception to Congress member Gaurav Gogoi’s allegation that government snoops on politicians with Israeli spyware Pegasus and asked him to give proof of the claim, saying the house was not meant for “reckless politics.”
Gogoi, while participating in a discussion in Lok Sabha on drug menace, sought to know from the government about the kind of surveillance mechanism it has in place on the country’s land and sea borders, as well as international airports, to check the entry of contraband into the country.
The Congress member also sought to know from the Home Minister as to what kind of surveillance and intelligence mechanisms are in place to check the arms smuggling, human trafficking, and smuggling of animal parts at the India-Myanmar border.
“You snoop on us again and again, install Pegasus on our phones and that of the journalists,” Gogoi charged.
“You tell us how many drug mafias you have caught through Pegasus so far,” Gogoi asked Shah.
Objecting to the Congress member's remarks, Shah asked Gogoi to submit in the house the proof of his accusation.
“He has levelled a very serious allegation that Pegasus has been installed in his mobile. He must submit here the basis (of his accusation) in the House. Either his words are removed or he must submit the basis,” Shah said.
“The House is for serious discussion, not for reckless politics,” he added.
Gogoi urged Speaker Om Birla to issue an order if he made any mistake in asking the government to tell the House if it uses Pegasus for surveillance or not.
“He has said (Pegasus was) used on him. He must submit facts. He can't just talk like this. Rest the Supreme Court has decided,” Shah said referring to the apex court's decision on the Pegasus spyware matter.
“What can we do if you also do not read like your leader,” he also said, hitting out at Gogoi over his remarks
Intervening, the Speaker told the members that it will enhance the dignity of the House if they make their points with facts and proof.
“This is my request,” he added.