Pegasus spyware case is assassination of Indian Constitution: CPCC president Mohan Markam

Pegasus spyware case is assassination of Indian Constitution: CPCC president Mohan Markam

Raipur: Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) President Mohan Markam on Wednesday hit out at the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for spying on opposition leaders including former AICC President Rahul Gandhi, reputed media houses, journalists and people holding on constitutional posts. Markam said that the Modi government has assassinated both the Constitution and the Law of the country. Besides, Modi government is suppressing the  fundamental rights of the common public of the country, Markam said while addressing media at Congress Bhawan on Wednesday on the issue of spying by using Pegasus.

Markam said that the Modi government has put the national security at stake which is a case of sedition. The name of Bharatiya Janata Party should be changed to Bharatiya Jasusi Party and slogan should be ‘Ab Ki Bar Deshdrohi Jasusi Sarkar’ of Modi government.

The issue is now open to all as to how Modi government has spied on aforementioned people and media house and journalists by using an Israeli software Pegasus. It did not even spare spying on its own leaders and ministers, High Court Judges, people holding constitutional posts and security agency heads, he said in the press conference.

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli cyber firm NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices) running most versions of iOS and Android. The 2021 Project Pegasus revelations suggest that current Pegasus software is able to exploit all recent iOS versions up to iOS 14.6. According to the Washington Post and other prominent media sources, Pegasus not only enables the keystroke monitoring of all communications from a phone (texts, emails, web searches) but it also enables phone call and location tracking, while also permitting NSO Group to hijack both the mobile phone's microphone and camera, thus turning it into a constant surveillance device.

Markam said that the former Election Commission of India Ashok Lavasa was also one of the victims of the spying. Major electronic and print media houses were also spied, Markam said. He also produced evidence of spying before the media.

Markam cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi for spying on Rahul Gandhi and said that in which crime and terror activities Rahul was  involved. Markam also took the name of Jagdeep Chhokar from Association for Democratic Reform who was also one of the victims. Moreover, Cabinet Ministers were also spied, he said. Markam said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah should resign with immediate effect from the post.

CPCC Communication Department chairman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah should apologise to the nation.  He said that party would take out a protest march from Rajiv Bhavan to Raj Bhavan on Thursday, demanding an inquiry into Pegasus spyware matter.

The previous BJP government in Chhattisgarh had used Pegasus spyware to snoop the telephones of the then CPCC President Bhupesh Baghel and other senior Congress leaders in 2017, he said.

The Central government should publicize the details of Israeli officials, who had visited Chhattisgarh in 2017 to attend a meeting with the officials of the state.

The Central government should provide details of the officials of the NSO Group, who had held a meeting with the officials of the state to the inquiry committee of the state. The details of the meeting, which was held were destroyed near BTI ground in 2019, Trivedi claimed.

The e-mail transactions between intelligence, government and NSO should be investigated. Besides, it should be made a case of direct misuse of agency for political reasons by leaving usage of this technology to check terror and Maoists in the state, Trivedi said. Trivedi said that vulnerability has been reported in WhatsApp which could be exploited by hackers.