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Mamata claims she and associates are victims of Pegasus surveillance

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on July 22, 2021

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee shows her taped phone while speaking about the Pegasus spyware row, during ‘virtual Sahid Divas’, in Kolkata.

Requests Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of alleged government spying

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that she, her nephew, Abhishek and the party’s poll strategist, Prashant Kishor, were victims of the Pegasus spyware and their phones were compromised. Meetings are being tracked and their calls are tapped through spyware, she charged.

On Wednesday, Mamata, for the first time went on record about the spyware hitting her phone. Abhishek and Kishor’s devices are suspected to have been hit during the Bengal elections held earlier this year.

“My phone, Abhishek’s and PK’s (Prashant Kishor) phones have been hacked. They recorded the details of our calls and now I’m afraid of talking to people. I have covered the camera for security purposes. Be it Sharad Pawar-ji or Chidambaram-ji or the CM of Delhi or any other CM, they are listening to our conversations; recording them. They think these recordings can be used against us. I am not making Facetime calls either (a specific iPhone feature),” she claimed addressing the annual Martyr’s Day event organised by her party.

Over the last few days, there have been reports of mobile phone snooping with several opposition leaders being targeted by Pegasus spyware including Rahul Gandhi.

SC should probe

Requesting the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of this alleged government spying “which was not leaving out judges either”; the Chief Minister accused, BJP was turning India into a “surveillance state”.

 

“I am requesting the Supreme Court to take cognizance. Set up a court-monitored team if required. People should also protest against such a surveillance State,” she said.

Meeting in Chhattisgarh

In a parallel development, the blame game also reached Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel alleged that officials from the company that makes Pegasus had come down to the State and contacted some officials there. He asked former CM Raman Singh to explain who all he met and what deals were signed with these individual(s).

Baghel has called for a probe into the matter.

“Since they (the NSO Group) say they only deal with governments, the Government of India should tell if they made a deal with them or not. They’re snooping on Opposition leaders, journalists and even ministers. What was the purpose? It should be probed,” he said.

Anti-BJP front

Meanwhile, Banerjee made her national ambitions clear as she tried to rally the opposition on the Pegasus issue and addressed specific opposition leaders to come together for a “united anti-BJP front”.

Banerjee will be in Delhi between July 26 and July 28 and “a meeting is possible then, if other leaders want”.

“We need to put up a united front to defeat the BJP. Preparations for 2024 should begin now onwards. I would urge all the parties to go back, figure out their strategies and iron out differences so that it is possible to work together,” she said, making her address in Bengali, Hindi and English for the benefit of leaders pan-India, apart from her supporters.

Inputs from Delhi Bureau

 

 

 

 

 

Published on July 21, 2021

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