Pegasus spyware: Khattar questions Amnesty International’s credibility
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday raised questions about the credibility of Amnesty International, an international human rights organisation, that conducted forensic examination of mobile devices to detect Pegasus spyware.
“Amnesty International didn’t disclose their source of funding to the central government. Rather, they chose to pack their bags and leave the country when they were asked. That means they are linked to certain entities which want to lower the prestige of the country. Their Pegasus Project narrative cannot be trusted,” Khattar said at a press briefing in Chandigarh.
He said such made-up stories by the Congress will dent the image of the country globally.
“Our credibility will go down. Because of the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our country has reached a certain level globally. I condemn such made-up stories,” he said.
CITES CONGRESS’ HISTORY OF SNOOPING
The history of Congress is filled with instances of snooping, he said. “Former PM Chandrashekhar’s government fell because of the alleged snooping by the Haryana CID personnel. That was just an excuse. Congress had wanted to withdraw support,” he said.
“Many allies of the Congress including Sitaram Yechury, Jayalalitha, Chandrababu Naidu, and Mamata Banerjee have complained that their phones were tapped during the UPA rule,” Khattar added.
The CM said during the UPA rule, former Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had accused the then Union home minister P Chidambaram of phone tapping.
There’s a list of 9,000 people whose phones were tapped during the UPA rule, Khattar said.
‘MY NUMBER COULD ALSO BE ON SURVEILLANCE’
He went a step further to say that even his mobile number could be under surveillance by a spying company.
“But that does not mean that we (the government) have any role in it. In fact, we could also be the victim. There are so many agencies that do snooping,” he said.
“Even my mobile number could be on the database which is the source of media reports. Those 50,000 mobile numbers released worldwide could have been the targets. But there is no proof as to who targeted these numbers, which company did it, and whether the spyware actually worked on these numbers,” Khattar said.
The CM said NSO Group, which manufactured the Pegasus spyware, also sells it to private agencies besides governments. “I have spent 10 hours studying this issue and have official information on the matter,” Khattar said.
BRIEFING A DAY AFTER PARLIAMENT DISRUPTED
The CM’s remarks came a day after the Parliament proceedings were disrupted over the issue with the Opposition demanded urgent debates on the issue.
The disruptions followed the global investigative consortium reporting that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa and election strategist Prashant Kishore besides two sitting Union ministers and journalists were among people potentially targeted by the Israeli phone hacking software, Pegasus.