Shashi Tharoor is a Lok Sabha MP and head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology.
In this conversation with Meghnad S, the Congress MP talks about the implications of the Narendra Modi government’s alleged involvement in the Pegasus snooping scandal. The matter is likely to come up at the August 28 meeting of the committee, although it hasn’t been discussed yet.
Replying to the government’s claim that there has been no unauthorised surveillance of journalists, activists, ministers, opposition leaders, Tharoor explains that the alternative – that authorised surveillance happened – is illegal and punishable by law absent extenuating circumstances. “So if it’s not unauthorized and it’s not authorized, who did it and how?” he asks. “And this becomes a very serious question that an independent inquiry needs to establish.”
If the Modi government did deploy Pegasus against Indian citizens, the MP argues, it would be a grave problem, not least because the Israeli spyware is reported to have been used in the assassinations of Saudi and Mexican journalists.
So far, however, he notes, the “government has shown an amazing capacity to brazen out any accusations against it that in other democracies might have led to the resignation of a minister.”
Text by Advaita Sood.
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