After a Supreme Court-constituted technical committee informed the apex court that the Union government did not cooperate with the panel over investigations into the Pegasus spyware cases, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said this showed that prime minister Narendra Modi and the Centre had ‘something deeper to hide’.
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“PM and his govt’s non-cooperation with the SC appointed committee is an acceptance that they had something deeper to hide and want to crush democracy. ”Pegasus,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
The Congress MP was among the Indians whose phones, according to a report, were targeted to be infected with the Israeli-developed spyware, which, among other things, is used for snooping. Three Hindustan Times journalists, too, were on this list, the report said.
Supreme Court order on Pegasus
On Thursday, Chief Justice NV Ramana, on his penultimate day in office, took up a host of cases, including Pegasus. The CJI-led bench conducted the hearing on a report submitted by a three-member panel, which worked under the supervision of former Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran.
Also Read | Parts of Pegasus report to be made public; no conclusive evidence of spyware
The committee concluded that of the 29 phones submitted to it, malware was found only in five, though it added that there was no conclusive proof that this was Pegasus. It also said no cooperation was extended by the central government throughout the probe.
The matter will now be heard after four weeks.
The Pegasus scandal
In July 2021, a consortium of media outlets and investigative journalists reported that the phones of Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen, and journalists were among the 50,000 selected for infection with the malware. A military-grade tool, Pegasus deploys cutting-edge methods to infect a person’s device and intercept calls, turn on the microphone or the camera, and access any device data, including messages, photos, and videos.
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On its part, the government, through IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, refuted the snooping allegations, with the minister telling Parliament there were ‘inconsistencies’ in the media reports.
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