No factual basis to reports about alleged use of spyware: Vaishnaw in RS

Updated on Jul 22, 2021 04:38 PM IST

TMC MP Shantanu Sen snatched the statement from the Union minister, leading to a commotion in the House, which was subsequently adjourned until Friday

Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw during the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday, July 22. (PTI)
Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw during the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday, July 22. (PTI)
ByHT Correspondent

Union electronics and information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday reiterated that many “over the top” allegations have been made in the reports about the alleged targeting by Israeli spyware Pegasus of politicians, journalists, and constitutional authorities.

“These allegations have been dismissed in the past by all parties involved, including the Supreme Court. There is no factual basis to these allegations,” he said in Rajya Sabha amid protests by Opposition parties.

TMC MP Shantanu Sen snatched the statement from the Union minister, leading to a commotion in the House which was subsequently adjourned until Friday.

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Vaishnaw on Monday said reports suggesting India used the spyware to infiltrate phones were nothing but an “attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions” Vaishnaw, who was making his first speech as the new minister in Parliament, said that the “highly sensational story” has made several “over the top allegations” but there is “no substance behind them”.

“It is not a coincidence that the reports have been published a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament,” said Vaishnaw, who was just minutes later named as one of the ministers who may have been targeted.

An international investigative media consortium has reported the alleged targeting and sparked a political storm.

To be sure, as the methodology of the investigation explains, the presence of a number does not indicate the individual’s phone was hacked — just that it was of interest.

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