The Shiv Sena on Thursday hailed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for setting up a panel to conduct a probe into the Pegasus snooping row, saying she has done something which the central government was supposed to do.
An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' criticised the Centre for not paying heed to the opposition's demand of setting up a joint parliamentary committee for a "detailed inquiry" into the snooping controversy.
It is "mysterious" that the Centre does not consider as serious the issue of alleged tapping of phones of two Union ministers, some other MPs, senior officials of the Supreme Court, armed forces and journalists, the Marathi publication said.
Banerjee on Monday said her state government has formed a two-member inquiry commission to look into allegations of snooping on politicians, officials and journalists using the Israeli spyware Pegasus.
Lauding her move, the editorial in 'Saamana' said, "The people of the country will see Pegasus as another associated branch of the CBI, ED, Income Tax. That is why the step by Banerjee is courageous. She set up a judicial commission and initiated the inquiry into the snooping row. She did what the Centre was supposed to do." It said chief ministers should safeguard the rights and civil liberties of citizens of their states and Banerjee has done a job of "awaking all".
By setting up a panel to conduct a probe into Pegasus snooping row, the West Bengal CM has given a "jolt" to the Centre, the editorial claimed.
The Shiv Sena noted that the French government had initiated a probe into the allegations of snooping by Pegasus (on senior officials in France).
"If France can do, why not the Indian government?" it asked.
On Monday, Mamata Banerjee said, "We were hopeful that the Centre would form an inquiry commission or a court-monitored probe would be ordered to look into this phone-hacking incident. But the Centre is sitting idle...so we decided to form a 'Commission of Inquiry' to look into the matter. West Bengal is the first state to take a step in this matter." Last week, an international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders, besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India, could have been targeted for hacking through the Pegasus spyware of the Israeli firm NSO.
However, the government has been denying all Opposition allegations in the matter.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )