Will probe, take strict action, says Deshmukh on allegations of snooping during Fadnavis’s tenure

By, Mumbai
Jan 16, 2020 11:58 PM IST

Taking note of Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s allegations that the Devendra Fadnavis government snooped on and tapped the phones of Opposition party leaders using Pegasus spyware, home minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said his department will investigate and take strict action if any official is found to be involved in such practices.

HT Image
HT Image

Former Madhya Pradesh CM and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijay Singh, in a series of tweets, said: “Is the @OfficeofUT going to give details in public that who was behind snooping and tapping in #maharashtra Who were the officers of Maharashtra Govt who went to #Israel to talk to#NS0 the brain behind malware #pegasus @PawarSpeaks.”

NSO is an Israeli technology firm known for Pegasus which enables remote surveillance of smartphones. “He [Singh] said that the software was used to tap the mobile phones of the leaders from the Opposition parties and Shiv Sena during the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. We have taken it seriously and asked to investigate who had gone to Israel to buy the equipment for eavesdropping on conversations of leaders from other parties,” Deshmukh told HT.

Home department officials, however, said police officials are sent to other countries to understand technological upgrade which helps them in investigation. “Only the anti-terrorism squad and state intelligence department have the right to tap phones. Going abroad is a routine practice irrespective of the political dispensation at the helm. We need to investigate if the technology brought from any other country was used politically,” said a home department officer.


    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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