Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Friday attacked the government over the Pegasus snooping allegations, asking whether it will give up its “ostrich-like attitude” and agree to the Opposition’s demand for a full discussion in Parliament on the issue.
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been adjourned repeatedly over Opposition protests, demanding a discussion on the Pegasus snooping allegations since the monsoon session commenced on July 19.
Attacking the government, Chidambaram said another case of misuse of Pegasus spyware has been revealed now with France’s national cybersecurity agency confirming that Pegasus spyware was infiltrated into phones belonging to two journalists of Mediapart, an investigative journal in France.
“Mediapart is the media organisation that broke the story that the Rafale aircraft deal was being probed in France,” the former home minister said.
“Will the government give up its ostrich-like attitude and agree to the Opposition’s demand for a full discussion in Parliament on misuse of Pegasus spyware in India? How long can the government duck and hide and scoot when all that the Opposition wants is a full debate?” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two Union ministers — Prahlad Singh Patel and Railways and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, and at least 40 journalists are on the list on the leaked database of NSO. It is, however, not established that all the phones were hacked.
The government has been denying all Opposition allegations in the matter.