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India’s PM Modi accused of ‘treason’ over Pegasus spyware scandal

ByFarhan Noor

Jul 20, 2021
By Haris Bin Zahid

Opposition accuses Modi of compromising national security following revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping by Israeli-made spyware.

At least two serving ministers in the Modi government also feature in the leaked database.

India’s main opposition Congress party has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “treason” and compromising national security following revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping by an Israeli-made spyware.

More than 1,000 phone numbers in India were among nearly 50,000 selected worldwide as possibly of interest to clients of the Israel-based NSO Group, maker of the Pegasus spyware, an investigation by a consortium of media organisations revealed on Sunday.

The leaked list, shared with the news outlets by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, and rights group Amnesty International, showed the identities of people targeted with more than 300 of those phone numbers in India, including politicians, dozens of journalists, businessmen and even two ministers in the Modi government.

Indian media reports said Modi’s main rival, former Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, was among dozens of Indian politicians, activists and government critics identified as potential targets of the Pegasus spyware.

“Is spying on India’s security forces, judiciary, cabinet ministers, opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, journalists and other activities through a foreign entity’s spyware not treason and an inexcusable dismantling of national security?” Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

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