Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Defending the central government on Pegasus spyware scandal, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday accused the Congress of having a history of snooping on its own leaders in a bid to politically finish them.
Talking to media persons in a hurriedly called press conference, Chouhan said the issue was deliberately raised ahead of parliament’s monsoon session by the Opposition Congress despite the fact that there were at least 70 bills to be discussed during the monsoon session, many of which were related to poor, backward classes and women.
“Pegasus scandal is a part of conspiracy to defame Indian democracy whereas Israel firm, which has developed spyware already gone on record that its customers were mostly western countries. A story has been fabricated to defame the central government. There is no evidence to link the scandal to the central government”, he said.
“Why should we snoop on Rahul Gandhi who is politically zero? Congress is full of spies. Late leaders like K Kamraj and Lal Bahadur Shastri were snooped upon by Indira Gandhi. Similarly, there was surveillance on Sitaram Kesari and Manmohan Singh at instance of Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are doing the same with G-23 Congress leaders.
He said it was on record that thousands of phone calls were recorded during the then UPA government. Several leaders like late Amar Singh, Sitaram Yechury and late J Jayalalithaa had also levelled allegations regarding surveillance on them.
Former finance minister in erstwhile UPA government late Pranab Mukherjee had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that his office was bugged.
In Madhya Pradesh, he added, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had minute-to-minute information of Kamal Nath government.
When asked about snooping on union minister of state for Jalshakti Prahlad Patel who belongs to Madhya Pradesh and several others associated with him, Chouhan said there is no truth in it.
State spokesperson of Congress Bhupendra Gupta said by levelling false allegations on the Congress, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will not be able to hide the fact regarding snooping.
The fact remained that it was not the Congress but certain international agencies, which leaked the information on Pegasus. Since Modi government was cornered on the issue, the BJP leaders were asked to defend it in states too.