Not a shred of evidence linking Modi govt or BJP to Pegasus story, says Prasad; Cong demands sacking of Amit Shah : The Tribune India

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Not a shred of evidence linking Modi govt or BJP to Pegasus story, says Prasad; Cong demands sacking of Amit Shah

Ravi Shankar Prasad calls it part of conspiracy to disrupt monsoon session and harm India’s growth story

Not a shred of evidence linking Modi govt or BJP to Pegasus story, says Prasad; Cong demands sacking of Amit Shah

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19

Dismissing any link between the Narendra Modi government and the party and the Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said  a “false story” has been “broken before the Monsoon Session of Parliament to disrupt it and stall India’s growth”, even as the Congress accused the NDA government of “treason” over the spyware issue.

Also read: Probe: Journalists, activists among firm’s spyware targets

Over 300 phone numbers of ministers, journos, activists, bizmen in India 'hacked': Report

Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishore, 2 Union Ministers, ex-EC Lavasa among Pegasus ‘targets’

Pegasus report: Attempt to malign Indian democracy, says IT Minister Vaishnaw in Lok Sabha

“There is no shred of evidence to link Pegasus (spyware) with either the government or the BJP,” the senior BJP leader said, slamming the Congress for the “baseless and bereft of propriety” comments levelled by it against the government. “It is a new low in the political discourse of the party that has ruled the country for more than 50 years,” Prasad said, calling it a part of “conspiracy to stall India’s development/growth story”.

“There is a robust legal framework in India and phone tapping can only be done in the case of national security after following it (a proper legal procedure). Even WhatsApp said its data cannot be hacked by Pegasus software. The company that owns the software has also denied it.

“This has been done deliberately to disrupt the monsoon session and create a baseless agenda because the Congress Party is losing everywhere. You are aware of the drama unfolding in Punjab and Rajasthan,” he said.  

Accusing those behind the story of trying to create disharmony, Prasad claimed that even those who broke the story say the presence of a phone number in the database does not mean the said phone number was infected. 

“Have some (political)parties and their leaders become ‘supari’ agents of such conspiracy,” he questioned, adding that the only reason behind the “conspiracy” is that there are some people who are upset with the development and progress being made by a confident India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“People who upset with India’s progress are trying to block the story of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, he said, also wondering why such situations are created whenever something important is happening in the country”. 

“It is all very suspicious,” he added  

Cong demands sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah

Meanwhile, accusing the government of “treason” and compromising on national security over the Pegasus spyware issue, the Congress on Monday demanded the sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah and a probe into the “role of Prime Minister” Narendra Modi in the matter.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala held Shah responsible for the Pegasus spying issue and said his party’s first demand is his dismissal from the post he occupies.

He said the Congress will take all Opposition parties on board over the issue and decide whether to ask for a judicial or parliamentary probes in the matter.

“Our first demand is the immediate sacking of Minister of Home and Internal security Amit Shah and a probe into the role of the Prime Minister in the matter,” he told reporters.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said Shah should immediately resign as he “does not deserve” to occupy the position he is holding.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said “Modiji promotes digital India, but what we are seeing is Surveillance India”.

Accusing the Modi government of murdering the Constitution, law and dismantling national security, Surjewala said it is guilty of “treason”.

“The Modi government is the deployer and executor of this illegal and unconstitutional snooping and spying racket through Israeli surveillance software Pegasus,” he said.

The government has denied any role in it. —with PTI



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