MoD absolved itself, what about others: Chidambaram on Pegasus snooping row

Congress leader P. Chidambaram
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Congress leader P. Chidambaram

Highlights

A day after the Defence Ministry denied any transaction with the NSO group, Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday raised questions.

New Delhi, Aug 10: A day after the Defence Ministry denied any transaction with the NSO group, Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday raised questions.

"MoD has 'absolved' itself of any deal with the NSO Group, Israel Assuming, MoD is correct, that takes out one Ministry/Department. What about the remaining half a dozen usual suspects? Only the PM can answer on behalf of ALL ministries/departments. Why is he silent?," Chidambaram wrote on Twitter.

In a written reply to a question of MP V. Sivadasan in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the Minister of State (Defence) Ajay Bhatt said, "Ministry of Defence has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies." The minister replied to a query whether the government had carried out any transaction with the NSO Group Technologies.

Both the Upper House and Lower House in Parliament have been witnessing disruption over the snooping issue -- the NSO Group Technologies spyware called Pegasus enables the remote surveillance of smartphones of politicians, activists and journalists.

Last week 18 leaders of the like-minded opposition parties issued a joint statement and demanded a discussion on the Pegasus snooping issue. The statement read: "The opposition parties stand firm and united on their demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue in both the Houses, replied to by the Home Minister, as this has national security dimensions."

The opposition has also unequivocally conveyed that the discussion on the farmers' issues and agitations arising from the three anti-farmers and black agri-laws should follow the discussion on Pegasus.

"It is unfortunate that the government has unleashed a misleading campaign to malign the combined opposition and blame it for the continued disruption in Parliament. The responsibility for the deadlock lies squarely at the doorsteps of the government, which remains arrogant and obdurate and refuses to accept the opposition's demand for an informed debate in both the Houses." it said

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