New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to appoint a committee to be assisted by three technical experts and supervised by a retired judge, Justice R.V. Raveendran, to conduct a “thorough inquiry” into the allegations of the use of Pegasus software for unauthorised surveillance. Mr Gandhi said the Opposition’s stand on the issue was “vindicated” as the judges have flagged the same concerns. “We protested, but no reply. We stopped Parliament, but we still did not get a reply. Now our stand is vindicated. So, our questions remain the same,” he added.
Mr Gandhi said the Opposition had been asking three basic questions. “Who authorised Pegasus (and) who has bought Pegasus? Who are the victims of the Pegasus snooping? Did any other nation have data on our people? What all information do they have?” Pegasus, he said, can only be bought by a government, and “either the Prime Minister or the home minister had given the go-ahead”. He further added: “Pegasus was used against chief ministers, former Prime Ministers and the BJP’s ministers, among others. Was the Prime Minister and the home minister getting the data obtained through the use of Pegasus? If the data of phone tapping of the chief election commissioner and the Opposition leaders are going to the Prime Minister, then it’s a criminal act.” He further pointed out: “Pegasus is an attempt to crush Indian democracy. Pegasus is an attack on the country and the country’s institutions. I am confident that the Supreme Court committee will get the truth out.”
Calling out the government, Mr Gandhi said: “Even if this data was on the Prime Minister’s desk, that too is totally criminal, and we will contest it.” He added: “The Prime Minster is not above the nation”.
The Opposition, he said, will push for a debate again in Parliament. “Surely, the BJP will not want that discussion, but we will push for it. The matter is in court now and the court will take it forward, but we will push for a debate in Parliament. The Winter Session of Parliament is due to begin next month. In the previous session, the government had made a statement in both Houses of Parliament,” Mr Gandhi added.