Congress demands sacking of HM over snooping row
New Delhi, July 19, 2021
Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Randeep Singh Surjewala on Monday held the Narendra Modi government guilty of "treason", claiming that the "Centre's spyware has dismantled national security".
The press conference was held after it emeregd former party President Rahul Gandhi was one of the potential targets of snooping using the Pegasus spyware developed by Israel's NSO Group.
At least two mobile phone accounts used by Rahul Gandhi were among the 300 verified Indian numbers listed as potential targets by an official Indian client of the Israeli surveillance technology vendor, NSO Group, The Wire reported.
"Shouldn't Home Minister Amit Shah, in-charge of the country's internal security, be sacked forthwith? Does this not warrant a full investigation into the role of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and others involved," the Congress leaders asked.
The Congress said that it's "shocking and sensational" that news reports disclosing illegal and unconstitutional hacking of cellphones of Constitutional functionaries, Union Cabinet ministers, present and former heads of security forces, senior leaders of the opposition, journalists, lawyers and activists reflect treasonous and inexcusable dismantling of national security by the BJP government.
"'Rule of law', 'fundamental right to privacy' and 'Constitutional duties' have been murdered in broad day light by the Modi government," the Congress leaders said.
They further said that it is an "unpardonable sin" that snooping and hacking of cellphones through Pegasus has given someone illegal access to the entire conversations, passwords, contact lists, text messages and live voice calls of India's security apparatus, Union ministers, opposition leaders, Supreme Court judges and others.
"This is clearly treason and total abdication of national security by the Modi government, more so when a foreign company could possibly have access to this data.
"And the person responsible for this is no one less than the Home Minister of India, Amit Shah. Of course, it could not be done without the consent and concurrence of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. This is an unforgivable sacrilege and negation of Constitutional oath by the Home Minister and the Prime Minister," the Congress leaders said in a statement.