New Delhi: The Union Defense Ministry has said in a written response to the Rajya Sabha that it has not purchased Pegasus spyware from the Israeli NSO.
Opposition political leaders in India, including some high-level judges and journalists, have been spying on their cell phones using Pegasus software, according to a recent international investigation by 17 international media outlets.
The issue has caused great controversy in parliament.
The monsoon parliamentary session will begin on July 19. The opposition parties have declared that they will not stand in the by-elections.
Charge against the central government
Many high-ranking leaders in Congress, including Rahul Gandhi, and left-wing leaders have accused the central government of being behind him. This is because the NSO provides Pegasus spyware to any country and not to individuals. Or not provided to other organizations.
Sale only to the government
So if the Pegasus had been spied on, it could have been bought by the federal government. So Rahul Gandhi keeps insisting that he clarify whether he bought the software or not. But so far the central government has not made any direct comment on the matter.
There was no definitive answer
On the first day of the affair, the Central Government issued a lengthy statement stating that the Government of India respects democracy. But there is no direct answer as to whether or not this spyware was purchased. Even after Rahul Gandhi accused his cell phone of being spied on, the federal government did not respond.
Supreme Court case
It is in this context that several people, including journalist N. Ram, are suing the Supreme Court in this regard. The case is being heard by Chief Justice NV Ramana.
The last time the case came to light, the Chief Justice had commented that it would be more serious if the accusation were true. It was in this context that the deputy of the Rajya Sabha Marxist Communist Party, Sivadasan, raised a question in writing in this regard. The answer has been given on behalf of the Ministry of Defense. He said that the federal Defense Ministry had not made any commercial agreements with NSO Group Technologies.
Interpretation of the Ministry of Defense in Rajya Sabha
This is said to be the first clear response from the central government on this matter. Therefore, it is said that the arguments in this regard can be presented when the case goes to hearing in the next Supreme Court. The opposition parties have declared that they will not stand in the by-elections. So the Pegasus debate has intensified again.
Summary in English
The union defense ministry says they have not had any transactions with the technologies of the NSO Israel group, which is providing the Pegasus spyware.
Article first published: Monday, August 9, 2021, 17:04 [IST]
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