Pegasus an attempt to 'crush' democracy: Rahul Gandhi

Pegasus snooping attempt to 'crush' Indian democracy: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi alleged that only PM Narendra Modi or HM Amit Shah could have ordered the use of Pegasus spyware

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Describing the Supreme Court order on Pegasus issue as a "big step", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the snooping episode involving the Israeli spyware was aimed at "crushing" India's "vibrant" democracy and this "attack" could have been ordered only by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah.

Rahul told a press conference that the Congress would continue to raise the issue in Parliament, as snooping on Constitutional functionaries and Opposition leaders was a "criminal act" and an "illegal action". He also claimed that the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka was toppled using Pegasus.

"I hope the Supreme Court will do their job and provide justice. But this is a deeper problem. If the Prime Minister is using this as a personal tool…if the data of snooping on Opposition leaders and Constitutional authorities is arriving on the Prime Minister’s desk, then it is a criminal act. We will follow it up," Rahul said.

Also Read | 'No specific denial by Centre': Supreme Court sets up panel to probe Pegasus snooping matter

He also sought answers on whether data collected using Pegasus was stored outside India. If it was stored outside, the government has launched an attack on "national security" and it was no wonder that the government refused to give full details to the Supreme Court, he said.

"Some illegal things have been done by the Prime Minister or the Home Minister. Otherwise, details could have been provided. They wanted to hide it," Rahul, who spearheaded the Congress protest against the government in Parliament on the issue, said.

"We welcome the order of the Supreme Court in the matter. It is not a matter of politics. It is an attack on the democratic structure of the country, on the people and on freedom. Only two people can direct this attack and when the truth comes out they will have no answer," he said, adding that the Supreme Court has "basically supported what we were saying".

The Opposition, including the Congress, has asked the government whether it has deployed Pegasus to snoop and whether the data has been given to any foreign country. The government has refused to answer these queries citing national security.

He said Pegasus was a "nasty subversive way to control the politics of people...Pegasus was an attempt to crush Indian democracy, to make sure the vibrancy of democracy is crushed and people are controlled. We are confident that we will get to the truth through the SC order," Rahul said.

Asked whether the issue would be raised in Parliament and other parties taken into confidence, he said the Congress would speak with other Opposition outfits. "We will again raise it in the Winter Session of Parliament. We know the BJP does not like that and will try to prevent it. But we want a discussion."

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