Bihar: CM Nitish Kumar demands investigation into Pegasus snooping case

Law Kumar MishraUpdated: Monday, August 02, 2021, 10:44 PM IST
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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday favoured a “thorough inquiry” into allegations of phone tapping with the help of Pegasus spyware which has led to a logjam in Parliament. Kumar, whose JD(U) is an ally of the BJP at the Centre as well as in Bihar, however, qualified his statement with the remark: “I know of this controversy only from whatever I have read about it in the newspapers. It is a known fact that modern technology can be put to sinister uses. If there have been any attempts to intercept people's telephonic conversations, it would be better to get the matter probed for suitable action,” he said on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction event.

Asked about the Opposition's demand that the matter be probed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, Kumar, who has been a former Union minister himself, said, “I cannot comment on what is taking place on the floor of the Parliament. But those who have any concrete information with regard to such alleged snooping must share the same with the government. I am sure the issue will be squarely addressed,” he added.

Opposition parties have been aggressively protesting over Pegasus snooping case in Lok Sabha as well as in Rajya Sabha, crippling functioning of both houses of Parliament. Responding to his party colleague Upendra Kushwaha's statement that the Bihar Chief Minister was a “Prime Minister material”, Kumar -- who was at one point seen as a secular alternative to the Narendra Modi juggernaut – said, “I have no such aspirations. I wish to serve Bihar for as long as I can.”

Kumar expressed surprise when his attention was drawn towards a remark by his Cabinet colleague and BJP leader Samrat Chaudhary, who had complained about “compulsions of coalition politics” and that “our voice is not being heard”.

“He never expressed such sentiments at meetings or even during the recent assembly session. In any case, our coalition has been running smoothly for decades. He may enquire from his seniors in his own party,” said the JD(U) leader who has been a BJP ally since the mid-1990s except for a 2013-17 hiatus.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana has decided to take in his own hand the alleged snooping hearing instead of assigning it to any other Bench of the Supreme Court. A Bench of the CJI and Justice Surya Kant will hear all petitions on the matter from Thursday. All petitioners have sought a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the alleged scam.

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