Pegasus snooping row: Centre denies all allegations, to constitute Committee of Experts to probe
Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology unequivocally denied any and all allegations made by the petitioners before the apex court.
New Delhi: The Pegasus spyware scandal allegations are based on conjectures and "unsubstantiated media reports" and will be examined by a group of experts to dispel any wrong narrative, the Centre told the Supreme Court.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology unequivocally denied any and all allegations made by the petitioners before the apex court. Various petitioners have demanded an SIT probe into the matter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana deliberated upon the aspect of whether the Centre, which on Monday filed a short, limited affidavit, should file a detailed affidavit in the matter.
However, it said "...with a view to dispelling any wrong narrative spread by certain vested interests and with an object of examining the issues raised, the Union of India will constitute a committee of experts in the field which will go into all aspects of the issue."
As quoted by Bar and Bench, opposing the petitions, the Centre said, "A bare perusal of the captioned petition and other connected petitions makes it clear that the same are based on conjectures and surmises or on other unsubstantiated media reports or incomplete or uncorroborated material. It is submitted that the same cannot be the basis for invoking the writ jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court.
"The Opposition kept up the heat on the government by disrupting the Parliament proceedings and forcing adjournments of both the Houses. Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned repeatedly every day since the monsoon session was convened on July 19.
An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile numbers were on an inventory of potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO's Pegasus spyware. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, ace poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, ex-Election Commissioner, 40 journalists among others were found to be on alleged leaked list of potential targets.
The forensic analysis of several mobile phones, consistent with the petitioners, belonging to people listed as potential targets by the safety Lab of Amnesty International have confirmed security breaches.
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