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Bid to malign Indian democracy: Vaishnaw

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

On Pegasus list himself, IT Min says illegal spying impossible in the country

The Government on Monday strongly refuted allegations of its alleged involvement in the Pegasus telephone tapping scandal and accused the Opposition of using it to disrupt Parliament.

Information Technology and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, whose name was also found in the list of people whose phones had been tapped, dismissed media reports on the use of Pegasus software to snoop on Indians, saying the allegations made just ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament are aimed at maligning Indian democracy.

In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said that with several checks and balances being in place, “any sort of illegal surveillance” by unauthorised people is not possible in India.

The Minister made this statement in response to media reports that the spyware Pegasus was being used to conduct surveillance on several Indians, including political leaders, Government officials, judges and journalists.

“A highly sensational story was published by a web portal yesterday night… The Press report appeared a day before the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. This cannot be a coincidence. In the past similar claims were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp.

Those reports have no factual basis and were categorically denied by all parties…The Press report of July 18, 2021 also appeared to be an attempt to malign the Indian democracy and a well-established institution,” the Minister said, while the Opposition was demanding replies from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

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