The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday "strongly refuted" Congress party's "baseless" allegations against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of allegedly targetting mobile phones of over 300 Indians, including those of two serving ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and scores of business persons and activists, for hacking through an Israeli spyware Pegasus.
"BJP strongly refutes, condemns the baseless & bereft of political propriety comments leveled by Congress against the BJP. It is a new low for a party that has ruled India for more than 50 years," BJP leader and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference.
"It is a strange situation. The company (NSO Group) is denying it (findings in Pegasus Project report) & saying that most of its products are being used by western countries but India is being targetted," he added.
Ravi Shankar Prasad further said that there is not a shred of evidence linking the BJP or the government to the Pegasus Project.
"Why these kinds of questions are raised at the time of important events? Riots were incited during Trump's visit, Pegasus story was circulated during 2019 polls & again it's in the news when Parliament is in session & when Congress is in a very bad situation," he said.
This came after the Congress party demanded the sacking of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and investigation into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in the Pegasus row.
"Shocking & sensational news reperts disclosing illegal and unconstitutional hacking of cell phones of Constitutional functionaries, Union Cabinet Ministers, present & Former Heads of India's Security Forces, Senior Leaders of Opposition, Journalists, Lawyers and Activists reflect treasons and inexcusable dismantling of National Security by BJP Government, 'Rule of Law', 'Fundamental Right to Privacy & Constitutional Duties have been murdered in broad day light by the Modi Government," Congress said in a statement.
"Modi Government is the deplayer and executor of this illegal and unconstitutional snooping and spying racket through Israeli surveillance software 'Pegasus'. The spyware not only breaches the WhatsApp but is able to turn over the phone's camera and microphone to capture all activities in the vicinity of the phone, besides backing all the security features of the phone, including listening to and sending passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages and live voice calls," the party added.
"The unpardonable sin is that the snooping and hacking of cell phones through 'Pegasus' has given illegal access to the entire conversations, passwords, contact lists, text messages and live voice calls of India's security apparatus, Union Ministers, Opposition Leaders, Paramilitary Chiefs, Supreme Court Judges and others. This is clearly "TREASON" and total abdication of "National Security" by the Modi Government, more so when the foreign company could possibly have access to this data," the Congress further said.
Congress said Union Home Minister Amit Shah is "the person responsible" and "of course, it could not be done without the consent and concurrence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the party claimed. "This is an unforgivable sacrilege and negation of Constitutional oath by the Home Minister and the Prime Minister," it added.