Screen grab of a video conference held by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on 28 May 2021 | Congress | Twitter
Screen grab of a video conference held by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on 28 May 2021 | Congress | Twitter
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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Monday made a veiled jibe at Narendra Modi’s government as he addressed the Pegasus hacking controversy — the list of journalists, ministers and opposition leaders who were allegedly hacked via the Israeli spyware Pegasus, the list of which was published by global and Indian new agencies Sunday night.

“We know what he’s been reading- everything on your phone! #Pegasus (sic),” Gandhi tweeted Monday morning.

His tweet was a quote-tweet of an earlier post of his, in which he had written: “I’m wondering what you guys are reading these days.”

This was posted on 16 July, two days before news of the Pegasus list broke.

Sources in the party told ThePrint it isn’t clear if Gandhi is on the list of those who were spied on using the hacking software, but the former party president had been talking about surveillance for some time now.

“It could have been a generic tweet in anticipation of the scoop that was expected to come where it was evident that many important names will feature,” a party leader said.

Congress Spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill added, “Rahul Gandhi has been consistently warning and nudging the citizenry to the notorious style of functioning of the BJP government.”

“From Aadhaar linkage to lack of transparency in its style of functioning, this government has consistently shown its paranoia and insecurity when it comes to accountability and transparency,” Shergill said.

‘Even senior ministers, RSS not been spared’

Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted Monday morning, attacking PM Modi over the scandal.

“Along with political opponents, now journalists, judges, industrialists, your own senior most ministers and even the leadership of the RSS have not been spared,” he posted in Hindi, calling the government a “jasoos sarkar (a spy government)”.

In another tweet in Hindi, he wrote: “Sahab, the country asks. How much time do you spend spying on others’ phones while working 18 hours a day?”


Also read: List of Indian journalists, activists allegedly put on surveillance using Pegasus


Pegasus list

According to the first reports published late Sunday, phones of two serving union ministers, three opposition leaders, one constitutional authority, current and former heads of security organisations, administrators and 40 senior journalists and activists from India were allegedly bugged using Pegasus and put on surveillance. The findings were reported by a global consortium of media organisations, including TheWire in India.

According to the reports, a leaked database of thousands of telephone numbers believed to have been listed by multiple government clients of an Israeli surveillance technology firm includes over 300 verified Indian mobile telephone numbers, including those used by ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists and others.

Forensic tests conducted as part of this project, the reports say, revealed clear signs of targeting by Pegasus spyware in 37 phones, of which 10 are Indian.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)


Also read: What is Pegasus? The ‘ultimate spyware’ used for surveillance


 

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