Pegasus row: Shiv Sena demands Parliamentary probe; blames Centre
The Shiv Sena on Wednesday slammed the central government over the Pegasus scandal, saying that such an attack couldn't have happened without the Centre's approval. In the editorial of Shiv Sena's mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena demanded that the issue should be probed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). Otherwise, it said, the Supreme Court should take suo motu cognizance and appoint an independent committee.
Taking a dig at the BJP-led Centre, the Shiv Sena alleged that the "real fathers" of the Pegasus are in our country and we should find them. The Sena reportedly said a few people observe the anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency as a "black day," but the Pegasus incident is "more dangerous." It called the surveillance an attack on 'Right to Privacy'.
On Tuesday, a delegation of Shiv Sena MPs led by Vinayak Raut (Sena's party leader in the Lok Sabha) met the House Speaker Om Birla and demanded setting up a JPC for the Pegasus row. The delegation sought stern action against those responsible.
The Sena also slammed Home Minister Amit Shah's recent statement on media reports of Pegasus as "surprising." Shah had dismissed media reports on Pegasus as an international conspiracy to "malign Indian democracy." "Can the Home Minister tell who is exactly defaming the country? The government, democracy, and the country are yours. Then, who has the courage to do all this?" Sena's editorial asked.
Sena also criticized the BJP for not allowing discussions on the issue in the Parliament. When instances of spying were reported in the former Congress-led administration, the BJP had demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, it said. "From Rahul Gandhi to industrialists, politicians, journalists, everyone's phone has been tapped. This is an attack on individual freedom," it added.
Sena also cited examples of how surveillance had led to the fall of governments in the past: United States President Richard Nixon (Watergate scandal) and Chandra Shekhar's government in 1990 (surveillance of Rajiv Gandhi). "Pegasus attack is more dangerous than all this. This is because the technology used was not much developed during that period," Sena added.
Meanwhile, a Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary committee on Information and Technology has decided to take up the issue of alleged illegal surveillance mounted on Indian individuals using Israeli spyware Pegasus on July 28. The committee will reportedly question representatives from the Home Ministry, the IT Ministry, and the Ministry of Communications. The panel said it will discuss "citizens' data security and privacy."