If over 45 countries use Pegasus, why target just India?, asks Ravi Shankar Prasad
New Delhi, July 19: Former Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has questioned why only India is being "targeted" for the use of the spyware when 45 nations are using it.
Addressing a press conference, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also questioned the credentials of those behind the story, alleging that The Wire, the news portal which broke it in India, had been earlier associated with stories which have been found to be "incorrect" while Amnesty International has a declared "anti-India" agenda in many ways.
Those who broke the story themselves said that the presence of a particular number in the database does not confirm that it is infected with Pegasus, he said while questioning the timing of the story coming as it did a day before Parliament''s Monsoon session began on Monday.
He also brushed aside a question on the Congress'' demands for Home Minister Amit Shah''s resignation and probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused the opposition party of hitting a "new low" in making baseless allegations in a manner that was bereft of any political propriety.
With the Congress "shrinking and losing", the entire row is timed to disrupt Parliament and build a baseless agenda, he said.
Prasad said, "The BJP strongly refutes and condemns the baseless and bereft of political propriety comments levelled by Congress against the BJP. This is a new low in the political discourse of a party that has ruled India for over 50 years."
He added, "Our IT Minister confirmed today that for lawful interceptions of electronic communication can only be made as per relevant rules under provisions of Sec 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 & Sec 69 of Information Technology Act 2000. Any form of illegal surveillance isn''t possible with checks & balances in our laws & robust institutions," he said.
Congress's Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishor, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa have been reportedly targeted.
with PTI inputs