Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest Instagram post. The Wayanad MP shared his picture in which he is seen engrossed in his mobile phone, and captioned it: "Modi ji since you're reading this, please make sure there's no #OxygenShortage in the future. #PegasusProject."
Rahul Gandhi's swipe at PM Narendra Modi comes amid reports that over 300 verified Indian numbers were listed as potential targets for surveillance during 2017-2019 by a client of the Israel-based NSO group.
For the unversed, an international media consortium reported on Monday that former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, BJP ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, and many others were among those whose phone numbers were listed as potential targets for hacking through Israeli spyware Pegasus.
It was also reported that the phone number of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and 11 phone numbers belonging to the Supreme Court staffer and her close relatives, who accused former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment in April 2019, were also selected as targets for surveillance.
Over 40 Indian journalists, scores of business persons and activists have also been targetted for hacking through the spyware Pegasus, the report said.
The government, however, dismissed the media reports, saying the allegations levelled just ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament are aimed at "maligning Indian democracy".
In a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, IT and Communications said that with several checks and balances being in place, "any sort of illegal surveillance" by unauthorised persons is not possible in India.