Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath has demanded that the Pegasus issue be probed by a Supreme Court judge, chosen with the consent of the opposition. Calling the alleged spying exercise using an Israel company-made software as an unprecedented attack on democracy, constitution and privacy of people of the country, Nath asked whether the spyware was used for national security or for (PM Narendra) Modi’s security. “Does national security mean Modi security?” Nath asked.
Addressing a press conference in Bhopal on Wednesday, Nath said the central government should come clean on the entire issue, and if it indeed has nothing to hide, it should place an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that it did not purchase Pegasus or similar spyware, neither did it obtain licence for them.
He said that if the Indian government says that it did not use the software, then probably the tapping was done by some other country, maybe China, which is more dangerous and therefore, called for an in-depth probe. He added that bigger exposes in the Pegasus issue will come during the next 15 days.
Nath also said that if the government is denying its involvement then it should register a case against the foreign media outlets including the Washington Post and The Guardian, among others, for coming out with reports on the issues. “But the government is doing nothing. They are simply trying to divert the issue by making confusing statements. Our demand is plain, if there has been violation of the Indian Telegraph Act or the Information Technology Act, which have clear provisions regarding the use of technology for national security, then there should be investigation into the matter,” the veteran Congress leader said.
The former CM also said there have been reports that Pegasus spyware was used to fell the government in Karnataka (in 2019) and similarly, it might have been used in Madhya Pradesh where his government was felled through trading.
He also admitted the dark days of Emergency and censorship, but said they were declared. “Now it is an undeclared emergency and the country and its people are facing an unprecedented attack. Even people of their own party are not left out,” Nath added.
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Attacking chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Nath said he (Chouhan) came forth to defend Modi ji on the issue, but rather than speaking about Pegasus, he kept speaking about the Congress, which shows that they have nothing to say about the expose. Later, he also went on to say that, maybe, Chouhan’s phones were also tapped as that of (union minister) Prahlad Singh Patel.
Earlier during the press conference, Nath spoke about the rise in prices saying it has impacted 90 per cent of the population and with the impact of COVID-19, middle-class people had slipped into poor category and many poor people were reduced to begging. He said this price rise was not benefitting anyone. Giving an example, he said when the minimum support prices on crops were increased during the UPA's tenure, it led to price rise, but money flowed into the hands of the farmers and came back into the economy as their purchasing power increased. But now, the economic activity index is also decreasing.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma attacked Nath saying that these were the people who were inside the country, but were always against it. He questioned how Kamal Nath always got lists, pen drives and CDs (related to different controversial issues), and added that if he has the courage he should bring to light all the details available with him as lies did not run the world. Sharma said that Nath and Digvijaya Singh were getting restless after losing power.