Pegasus row: IT Minister Vaishnaw to address the issue in RS, Congress to protest on July 22

Union Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will address the reports claiming “snooping” using Israeli Pegasus spyware in the Rajya Sabha with a detailed statement today.

The central government as well as the Israeli firm NSO Group, the creator of the Pegasus spyware, have both categorically refuted the allegations in the report as baseless and unfounded.

However, opposition parties led by the Congress, have created major uproar. The Congress party is set to hold a huge protest on July 22. The party will reportedly hold a press conference in every state on Wednesday and hold protests to the Raj Bhavans across the country the next day.

Opposition parties have also demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah as well as a thorough investigation into the allegations made by the ‘Pegasus Project’ report.

Accusing the government of “treason” and holding HM Shah responsible, the Congress has also asked for a probe into the “role of the prime minister” in the entire matter. The demand comes from Congress, TMC, NCP, Left parties, RJD and Shiv Sena.

Hitting back at the Congress, the ruling party has claimed that the claim does not hold “a shred of evidence” to link it or the PM’s dispensation with the matter.

Former IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had questioned the credentials of the report and the timing of the leak, stating that opposition parties making baseless accusations have hit a “new low”.

Categorically rejecting the charges, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw asserted that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country’s laws in a statement in the Lok Sabha. Vaishnaw, whose name also figures in the list, said that attempts were being made to malign Indian democracy.

HM Shah also spoke on the claims, hitting out at the opposition and some international organizations. He stated that “obstructers” and “disrupters” won’t be able to derail India’s development trajectory.

Opposition parties protested on the issue in the Parliament which disrupted the proceedings of both Houses. Several members of the opposition put forward adjournment notices to discuss the issue, which were rejected by the chair.

(With inputs from DNA India)

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