Levelling the allegations against the previous BJP-Shiv Sena Maharashtra government, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, on Friday, stated that the Thackeray-led government has initiated a probe against these allegations. He claimed that the previous government had sent its officials to Israel to procure the spyware to snoop on NCP and Congress leaders prior to the elections. Likening the Maharashtra snoop gate allegations to the 'Pegasus snoop gate', he said that the BJP government had done this for political gains.
"During the BJP government's regime when the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections were held, the government had attempted to tap the phones of senior Congress and NCP leaders to know whom they were talking to and what they spoke. The allegations state that some state officials were sent to Israel on government funding to procure the software. The software was then used to spy on leaders by BJP government and we have initiated a probe into this," he said.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut dared the authorities to spy on him amidst reports of CM Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his phones being tapped. Reiterating that like his mentor Bal Thackeray, he said that he never did anything in the shadows. Moreover, he slammed Fadnavis and claimed that this report was shared with him by a BJP politician and said that he 'knew about this already'. An article shared by Raut states that the Maharashtra government has initiated a probe into wire-tapping allegations made by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp had revealed that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus. WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities' spies hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users spanning across four continents and included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, and senior government officials. While Whatsapp has not revealed on whose behest this hacking has happened, Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has sought Whatsapp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of Indians. Whatsapp is yet to reply to the Centre.