Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday took an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the release of the controversial 'Pegasus Report' which was released on Sunday. The report identified nearly 300 phone numbers of important persons including 40 Indian journalists, ministers and officials who were allegedly on a list of potential surveillance targets.
On Monday, Gandhi tweeted, "We know what he’s been reading- everything on your phone!". The tweet was shared as a response to one of his own tweets from last week where he asked his followers what they were reading.
The cryptic tweet seems to be a dig at PM Modi, following outrage over the 'Pegasus Report' which was released in India by The Wire along with 16 other international publications including Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde. The investigation was carried out by Paris-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories and rights group Amnesty International into an allegedly leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers from across the world that are believed to have been the target of surveillance through Pegasus software of Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.
Responding to the controversy, Israeli tech firm NSO Group that is the creator of the sophisticated Pegasus spyware app, rejected the findings of the report, stating that it was based on "wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories".
The government of India also dismissed the report, calling India a "robust democracy" instead.
In a communication to Washington Post India bureau chief Joanna Slater, Dr Rajendra Kumar, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said, "India is a robust democracy that is committed to ensuring the right to privacy to all its citizens as a fundamental right. In furtherance of this commitment, it has also introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, to protect the personal data of individuals and to empower users of social media platforms."
Shiv Sena MP on Monday attacked the BJP government and said PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah should clarify on the issue of alleged snooping of several people, including journalists, through the Israeli spyware Pegasus.
"There is an atmosphere of fear among people. The PM and Home Minister should address the issue and clarify," Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told reporters in New Delhi.
Raut said that this shows the country's "government and administration is weak."