The Pegasus Project report rocked the Indian parliament right ahead of its monsoon session. A parliamentary committee on information technology will take up the Pegasus issue on 28th July 2021. Dr. Shashi Tharoor will chair the committee, which will question officials from the Ministry of Information Technology and the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding illegal surveillance of journalists, opposition leaders, activists among others. Dr. Tharoor elaborated on the need for an investigation into the snooping claim. The Indian government has however rejected all allegations of the alleged surveillance.
Dr. Tharoor said:
It has been proved that phones examined in India had an invasion of Pegasus. Since this product is only sold to vetted governments, the question arises which government? If the government of India says they have not done it, some other government did it, then it is a more serious national security concern.”
Agenda of Discussion
The main agenda for the meeting is Evidence of the representative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ministry of communication on the subject of “Citizens data security and privacy.”
This fiasco came to light when a consortium of 17 international journalistic organizations published a report on spyware based surveillance. S several opposition leaders have since demanded an independent probe into the matter. However, the newly appointed IT minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw said in the Parliament there is ‘no substance’ in the media regarding the use of Pegasus.
Recently advocate ML Sharma filed a petition in the Supreme court seeking SIT (Special Investigation Team) probe.
The NSO Group, which developed Pegasus, has vehemently denied any allegations launched by the journilistic group. It has now said that it will not be responding to any more media enquiries on this “vicious and slanderous campaign” that has complete disregard of the facts.”