Opposition parties disrupt Parliament, seek probe into Pegasus

Opposition parties disrupted parliament on Tuesday, de­ma­nding an investigation into re­p­orts that the government used Israeli-made Pegasus spyware to snoop on scores of journalists, activists and politici­ans, including the main Opp­o­sition leader Rahul Gandhi.

Shouting out slogans agai­nst Prime Minister Nare­ndra Modi’s government, the Opp­osition members said they wanted an independent probe into the complaints of spying and the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.

An investigation published on Sunday by 17 media organizations, led by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden Stories, said spyware made and licensed by the Israeli company NSO had been used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists.

ALSO READ: Pegasus row: Kapil Sibal demands SC-monitored probe, white paper by govt

Indian news portal The Wire reported that smartpho­nes of politicians, including Gandhi, and two other lawmakers were among 300 verified Indian numbers listed as potential targets for surveillance during 2017-19 ahead of national elections. NSO has said its product was intended only for use by vetted government intellige­nce and law enforcement age­ncies to fight terrorism and crime.

Opposition leaders said the Modi administration was spying on journalists, activists and politicians who were opposed to its policies. “It is an attack on the democratic foundations of our country,” Congress said.

It said the government had illegally accessed the conversation of many people by hacking cell phones with the Pegasus spyware.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister for Electronics and Information Technology, told lawmakers on Monday there was no substance to the reports of spying.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.


We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor