Shah slams Cong member over Pegasus charge

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NEW DELHI: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday objected to Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi’s allegation that the government snoops on politicians with Israeli spyware Pegasus and asked him to give proof of the claim.

Mr Shah said that the House was not meant for “reckless politics.”

During the discussion in Lok Sabha on the drug menace, Mr Gogoi sought to know from the government what kind of surveillance mechanism it has in place on the country’s land and sea borders, as well as international airports, to check the entry of contraband into the country.

The Congress MP also asked the home minister about the surveillance and intelligence mechanisms in place to check the smuggling of arms, human trafficking and the smuggling of animal parts at the India-Myanmar border.

“You snoop on us again and again; install Pegasus on our phones and that of the journalists,” Mr Gogoi charged. He then asked Mr Shah, “Tell us how many drug mafias you have caught through Pegasus so far.”

In response to Mr Gogoi’s remarks, Mr Shah demanded that the Congress MP provide proof of his accusation in the House.

“He has levelled a serious allegation that Pegasus has been installed in his mobile. He must submit the basis (of his accusation) in the House. Either his words are removed or he must submit the basis,” Mr Shah said, adding, “The House is for serious discussion, not for reckless politics.”

Mr Gogoi urged Speaker Om Birla to issue an order if he made any mistake in asking the government to tell the House if it uses Pegasus for surveillance or not.

“He has said (Pegasus was) used on him. He must submit facts. He can’t just talk like this. Rest the Supreme Court has decided,” Mr Shah said, referring to the apex court’s decision on the Pegasus spyware matter.

“What can we do if you also do not read like your leader?” Mr Shah said, hitting out at Mr Gogoi over his remarks.

Intervening, the Speaker told the members that it will enhance the dignity of the House if they make their points with facts and proof. “This is my request,” he added.

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