Escalating the Pegasus row, Congress has now demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah and an impartial Supreme Court-monitored judicial inquiry into the alleged Pegasus snoopgate. Congress has also asked for an inquiry into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi under a Supreme Court-monitored probe.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has issued a statement demanding the home minister's resignation and Supreme Court-monitored inquiry. The AICC said it carried out protests across its state offices and said, "there is tremendous outrage among Congress leaders and workers against the report of the tapping of phones of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi."
The demands by Congress come even after Amnesty International changed its stance after a legal threat by Pegasus owner NSO Group. Amnesty International Israel on Thursday stated that it never claimed that the leaked database (list) was NSO Pegasus Spyware List. This seemingly comes after NSO Group contemplated taking legal action on the media organisations that released the Pegasus project report.
The media organisations that have carried the Pegasus story in full swing have not given any evidence to corroborate the claims made by them of 'Government spying' on various people, of which Rahul Gandhi is allegedly a target.
"The truth is that Amnesty has never presented this list as "NSO's Pegasus Spyware List", although some of the world's media may have done so. Amnesty, and the investigative journalists and media outlets in which they work, made it clear from the outset in very clear language that this A list of numbers marked as numbers of interest to NSO customers, which are different regimes in the world," Amnesty said in a statement, leaving the media organisations that carried the story high and dry.
Forbidden Stories and Amnesty are purportedly in possession of the leaked database which has been circulated to its partner media organisations across the world. The leaked database of 50,000 numbers is alleged to be the potential target of NSO clients using Pegasus spyware. Of the 50,000 numbers, some 300 numbers are said to be from India belonging to people including journalists, union ministers, businessmen and also accused of the Bhima Koregaon case.
Reports have stated that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Poll strategist Prashant Kishor was also among the potential targets of the Pegasus spyware. However, there has been no evidence presented by either the media organisations or the Opposition to support the Pegasus snoopgate claim.
Despite the Pegasus story being speculative and inconclusive without any hard evidence, the Opposition has held the parliament at ransom. TMC MP Shantanu Sen tore apart the papers of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while the Minister was addressing the Pegasus row. Due to the Opposition's ruckus, the Monsoon session on Thursday saw repeated adjournments disrupting the business of the Parliament. The Centre has slammed the Opposition for disrupting the Parliament. Union Minister and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi stated that the Pegasus Row is being raked up by the Opposition because it doesn't want the crucial bills to be passed.