Pegasus an attack on Indian democracy: Rahul Gandhi

27-10-2021

New Delhi, Oct 27 (UNI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the Supreme Court order in the Pegasus issue has vindicated the stand taken by the Congress and called the snooping software an attack on Indian democracy.

At a press conference after SC gave its order, the Congress leader said only two people could have given the order to use Pegasus - Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah.

"There are only two people who could have ordered Pegasus, the Prime Minister of the Home Minister. Mr. Gadkari couldn't have ordered it, the foreign minister couldn't have ordered it," Rahul Gandhi said.

"Pegasus is illegal. What the PM is doing is an illegal act. He is not above the nation and the institutions," the Congress leader said.

He said there are important questions that the government needs to answer.

"SC has given its judgment and it has supported what we were saying. We have asked three questions - Who authorised Pegasus? it cannot be bought by private individuals... Our second question, who are the victims of Peagsus?

Did any other country have access to information of our people? Was this data kept with them?" he questioned.

"No reply was given to us."

He said democratic institutions in the country were under attack and called the Pegasus a "nasty and subversive" way of doing it.

"It's a way to frighten people to blackmail them. For us we are quite happy SC has accepted to look into it. Pegasus is an attempt to crush Indian democracy. It is a way to ensure vibrancy in democracy is destroyed," he said.

Congress, along with other Opposition parties had raised the Pegasus issue in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which resulted in a stalemate and the session being washed out amid opposition protests.

He said the issue would be raised in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament again, and discussions would also be held with other Opposition parties on it.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said as there is no clear stand taken by the Centre on the Pegasus spyware case, it has no option but to accept the submission in a petition seeking independent court-monitored probe, and appoint a three-member expert committee headed by RV Raveendran, former Supreme Court Judge to look into the allegations raised.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, passed the order on a batch of petitions alleging widespread and targeted surveillance of politicians, journalists, activist among others using the Pegasus spyware.