The Assam Congress has submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking a Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the “illegal spying and surveillance” on Indian citizens by using Pegasus project.
The memorandum was submitted to President Kovind through the Assam Governor.
The memorandum, signed by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora also demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for allegedly breaching the “national security and his constitutional oath”.
The memoradum said, “a series of news reports in publications around the world revealed that over 300 Indian numbers were targeted for surveillance using the Israeli Pegasus spyware”.
These numbers belong to opposition leaders, constitutional authorities, journalists, Union ministers, foreign ambassadors and High Commissioners and current and former officials of security services, the memorandum said.
Most of these numbers were targeted between 2018 and 2019 in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Among opposition leaders, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his staff, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, election strategist Prashant Kishor were targeted by Pegasus spyware, the memorandum said.
‘It is very surprising that Pegasus spyware is sold by Israeli company, the NSO group, it allows users to hack and tap into smart phones remotely and access their contents, microphone, camera and so on,” the APCC memorandum said.
Meanwhile, the NSO Group has reiterated on several occasions that the spyware is sold only to ‘Vetted Governments” and not to private entities.
“As such, it is very clear that the Pegasus spyware was used by only BJP Government against the opposition for their political gain,” it said.
“It is to be mentioned that evidence of hacking was confirmed by Amnesty International’s lab which conducted forensic analysis on a sample of targeted phones. This finding was independently verified by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.”
“Out of 67 phones examined, 23 had been successfully hacked and 14 showed attempted hacking. Amnesty International has also fully published its forensic methodology,” the memorandum said.
In the memorandum, APCC president Bora, who is also a Rajya MP, said “the issue has become most sensitive and serious across the world”.
The memorandum alleged, “This illegal surveillance through the spyware BJP government used against the opposition leaders, constitutional authorities, journalists, etc. is an attack on Indian democracy and violation of right to privacy.”
The APCC demanded to constitute a Supreme Court-monitored judicial inquiry to find out the role of government officials involved and initiate actions against all such persons found involved in the illegal surveillance by Pegasus spyware.
The APCC also demanded the “resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the breach of national security and his constitutional oath”.