New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has asked the Narendra Modi-led Centre to launch an investigation into WhatsApp’s announcement that unnamed entities had used Israeli software ‘Pegasus’ to snoop on many Indians including journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists. Calling the situation ‘quite serious’, Mamata said,”We used to think that WhatsApp messages can’t be intercepted, but even that hasn’t been spared. Neither landline phones nor mobile phones are safe – it’s total espionage.”
Hitting out at the government, the West Bengal CM further asked,”What sort of freedom do we have now when we can’t even talk? Total spying is on. It is a very serious situation. I will request the prime minister to take care of this.”
Mamata also accused the Centre of tapping her phone on various occasions and claimed that she has evidence to prove her charge. “My phone was tapped, and I know that because I have the information and evidence with me”, said the TMC supremo.
On being asked if she would raise the matter with the Centre, the West Bengal CM said,”What is there to be raised? The government knows it as they are the ones doing it. This is happening at the behest of the central government and two-three state governments. I will not name the states, but one of them is ruled by the BJP.”
Besides, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi asked the government to summon Israel’s ambassador and ask him about the same. “We’ve learnt that there is a company from Israel that can get access to your WhatsApp account. They can listen to the conversations you have in your homes.Government should summon Israel’s ambassador & ask him about it, instead of questioning WhatsApp”, Owaisi reportedly said.
Earlier on Saturday, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi had targeted the Narendra Modi dispensation over the WhatsApp snooping row describing it as ‘shameful’.
“There are so many other issues, of which you will be aware. The latest shocking revelation is that through the Israeli Pegasus software, acquired by the Modi government, snooping on activists, journalists and politicians has taken place. These are not only illegal and unconstitutional, but also shameful”, Gandhi said while addressing party leaders.
Earlier on Thursday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp confirmed that Israeli software ‘Pegasus’ was used allegedly by a surveillance firm NSO Group to snoop on journalists, lawyers, and activists. Pegasus allegedly exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via giving missed calls to snoop on 1,400 select users globally, including nearly 30-40 people in India.