Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s main political rival Rahul Gandhi on Friday demanded an inquiry into the Pegasus spyware scandal, accusing the government of “treason”.
Gandhi is one of dozens of Indian politicians, journalists and government critics on an alleged global database of 50,000 possible Pegasus spying targets that was revealed by an international group of media outlets. At least one number once used by Prime Minister Imran Khan was also on the list.
The claims have sparked uproar in the Indian parliament, with one opposition parliamentarian — since suspended — on Thursday snatching and ripping up the text of a statement on the subject being delivered by IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
“Pegasus is classified by the Israeli state as a weapon and that weapon is supposed to be used against terrorists,” Gandhi, 51, told reporters in New Delhi.
“The prime minister and the home minister have used this weapon against the Indian state and against our institutions. The only word for this is treason…. and this has to be investigated.”
The alleged database of phone numbers included more than 1,000 in India, with the owners of 300 of them identified in the media reports.
It is not known how many of the phones on the list were actually targeted for surveillance or how many attempts were successful. AFP