Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has hit out at the Centre, saying that it has committed treason while reacting to a New York Times report which claimed that the Indian government bought the Pegasus spy tool in 2017 as part of a deal with Israel.
"Modi Govt bought Pegasus to spy on our primary democratic institutions, politicians and public. Govt functionaries, opposition leaders, armed forces, judiciary all were targeted by these phone tappings. This is treason. Modi Govt has committed treason.", Gandhi wrote.
According to the report in The New York Times, the Israeli spyware Pegasus and a missile system were the "centerpieces" of a roughly USD 2-billion deal of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear between India and Israel in 2017.
The Congress on Saturday attacked the Centre over a New York Times report which claimed that the Indian government bought the Pegasus spy toll in 2017 as part of a deal with Israel, saying illegal snooping using the spyware amounts to "treason".
Attacking the government, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said on Twitter, "Why did Modi Govt act like the enemies of India and use a warfare weapon against Indian citizens?" "Illegal snooping using Pegasus amounts to treason. No one is above the law and we will ensure that justice is served," he said.
"Brazen hijack of democracy and act of treason. Modi govt purchased Pegasus in 2017 along with other military technologies as centerpiece of a package, include weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly US$ 2 billion from Israel during PM Modi's visit," said Randeep Surjewala on the report.
Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that the "revelations" in the report imply that the government "misled" the Supreme Court and Parliament on the issue.
"Why @narendramodi is silent? It is @PMOIndia's duty to clarify. New York Times revelations today that It did indeed subscribe by payment from tax payers money of ? 300 crores to spyware Pegasus sold by Israeli NSO company," he tweeted.
"This implies our Govt misled Supreme Court & Parliament," Gohil said.
Youth Congress chief Srinivas B V also cited the media report and tweeted, "Hence Proved! Chowkidar Hi Jasoos Hai.." In a tweet, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi alleged the spyware was used not for defence purposes but to snoop on opposition and journalists.
"If there is BJP, it is possible. They have made the country into a Bigg Boss show," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said, "Modi government must rebut New York Times revelations today that It did indeed subscribe by payment from tax payers money of ? 300 crores to spyware Pegasus sold by Israeli NSO company.
"This implies prima facie our Govt misled Supreme Court and Parliament. Watergate?" he tweeted.