Pegasus 'snooping' issue: Congress to hold press conferences in every state tomorrow, to stage protest march to Raj Bhavans on July 22

The Congress will hold press conferences in every state tomorrow, July 21, on the 'Pegasus Project' media report issue, reported news agency ANI on Monday.

The State units of the Congress party will also stage a protest march to Raj Bhavans across the country on July 22 over the issue.

"Latest revelations today reveal that telephones of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his office staff were also hacked. It has been also reported that the spyware 'Pegasus' was also being used to hack cell phones in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections to Parliament," AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal said in a statement.

The statement further said that the "'Pegasus' spyware and all NSO products are exclusively sold to Government only. It is thus, clear that the Government of India and its agencies bought the spyware to hack the phones of opposition leaders, journalists, lawyers and activists."

"In this regard, the party has decided to hold nationwide protests across the country demanding Supreme Court-monitored judicial enquiry on Spyware Pegasus and resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah," it added.

The issue of "snooping" using Pegasus spyware snowballed into a massive political row in Parliament and outside as various parties demanded a thorough investigation and sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah, while the government maintained it had nothing to do with it.

The Congress accused the government of "treason" and held Shah responsible for the snooping and hacking of phones of journalists, judges and politicians, and demanded a probe into the "role of the prime minister" in the entire matter as well.

The demand for a probe came from opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, NCP, Left parties, RJD and Shiv Sena.

This comes after The Wire reported that phone numbers of Indian Journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware.

The spyware 'Pegasus' is developed by Israel-based NSO Group. The company specialises in hacking devices and caters to various governments of the world for spying purposes.

Forensic tests have also confirmed that the phones of some of these journalists were successfully infected with the Pegasus malware, the report said.

According to the report, the journalists who were targeted work for some news organisations in the country including Hindustan Times, The Hindu, India Today, Indian Express and Network18. Many of them cover matters related to Defence, Home Ministry, Election Commission and Kashmir among others.

(With inputs from ANI)

Free Press Journal