Claiming that Pegasus spyware had a role to play in the downfall of the Karnataka government, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath here on Wednesday slammed the Centre for spying on opponents, media and those critical of the central government.
Spying with the help of Pegasus had nothing to do with the national security but it’s connected to the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Nath, claiming more exposures are lined up for the near future.
If the Centre says it did not buy the spyware from Israel, why can’t it say the same in an affidavit with the Supreme Court of India, he said. The Congress veteran demanded a probe into the controversy through an SC sitting judge, with the consensus of the opposition.
The French government had immediately ordered a probe into the allegations so why can’t be the same in India, asked Nath who claimed that the Indian government not only bought the spyware from Israel but also procured licences for spying on opponents, media and the critics.
There are three ways of taping phones — through landlines, taping cellphones or through spyware like Pegasus, which intrudes into the phones and computers of targeted persons transporting data to the desired locations, said the senior leader.
He said PM Modi had visited Israel in 2017 and Pegasus spying started in December the same year and the spyware landed in India in 2018-19, adding he wasn’t linking the visit to the spyware but it’s a fact.
“When the State government in Karnataka was brought down, it is said Pegasus was used there,” said Nath and when asked was also used when his own government was brought down, he said it could be the case as MLAs kept in Bengaluru resort used to take staff’s phone to speak to him claiming their cellphones were being taped.
“I had said it was a government of sauda (horse-trading).”
Asked for comments on claims taping of calls of union minister Prahlad Patel, Nath said perhaps they have threats from the minister, who knows Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s phone was also taped, he said with a smile.
He said e-tender was exposed in Shivraj government’s last tenure but the probe into seven e-tenders was hushed up and he had ordered officers to widen the probe and it reached up to 90-100 dubious tenders. But after my government was brought down, nothing happened, he added, saying he did not use the probe to hunt down anyone as he was busy working for the State.
He also slammed the BJP for skyrocketing inflation saying fuel, pulses, cooking gas, milk, eggs and other essentials have shown unprecedented price escalation which has hassled every section. The middle-class is hassled while several poor have turned into beggars, claimed Nath.
‘I am not leaving MP’
Putting to rest speculations on him taking up a key responsibility in AICC, Nath clarified that he had met Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi but wishes to make it clear that he is not going anywhere from Madhya Pradesh. There were reports that Nath could well be appointed the AICC President in the near future after Rahul Gandhi expressed disinterest in taking on the mantle yet again.