Nath corners Centre over spyware row

Slamming the Centre for spying on opponents, media and those critical of the central government, PCC Chief Kamal Nath on Wednesday claimed that Pegasus spyware had a role to play in the downfall of Karnataka Government.

Spying with the help of Pegasus had nothing to do with the national security but its connected to the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Nath claiming more exposures are lined up for near future. He was talking to media persons here on Wednesday.

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, added the Congress veteran demanding a probe into the controversy through a SC sitting judge, with the consensus of the opposition.

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 spywares 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 year 2017 and Pegasus spying started in December same year and the spyware landed in India in year 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 it 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.

When 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 govt’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 upto 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. Middle class is hassled while several poor have turned into beggars, claimed Nath.