Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack at the Centre during a lecture at Cambridge University, alleging that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy while also claiming that Israeli spyware Pegasus was being used to snoop into his phone.
Mr Gandhi claimed that he had been warned by the intelligence officers to be “careful” while speaking on the phone as his calls were being recorded.
Congress leader and ex-advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sam Pitroda shared the YouTube link of Rahul Gandhi’s address to MBA students at Cambridge Judge Business School on the topic of ‘Learning to Listen in the 21st Century’, on Twitter.
“I myself had Pegasus on my phone. A large number of politicians had Pegasus on their phones. I have been called by intelligence officers who told me, ‘Please be careful about what you are saying on the phone because we are sort of recording the stuff. So this is the constant pressure that we feel. Cases on the Opposition. I have got a number of criminal liable cases for things that should under no circumstances be criminal liable cases. That’s what we are trying to defend,” the Congress leader said in his address.
In August last year, the Supreme Court-appointed committee, set up to look into the allegations of the government allegedly using Pegasus for snooping, had concluded that the spyware was not found in the 29 mobile phones examined by it, but the malware was found in five mobile phones.
Reading the report of the committee, the bench had said, “We are concerned about the technical committee report… 29 phones were given and in five phones some malware was found but the technical committee says it cannot be said to be Pegasus.”
Rahul Gandhi also alleged that constraints were being put on the Parliament, press and the Judiciary in the country.
“Everybody knows and it’s been in the news a lot that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack. I am an Opposition leader in India, we are navigating that (Opposition) space. The institutional framework which is required for a democracy — Parliament, free press, the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, moving around — all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy,” the Congress MP alleged.
Sharing a picture of himself in the presentation slide in which he is seen being held by the police personnel, the Congress leader claimed that the Opposition leaders were “locked up” in jail for “just standing” in front of the Parliament House to talk about some issues, while also alleging that such incidents have happened “relatively violently”.
“In the Constitution, India is described as a Union of States, and that Union requires negotiation and conversation. It is that negotiation that is under attack and threat. You can see the picture which is taken in front of Parliament House. The Opposition leaders were just standing there talking about certain issues, and we were put in jail. That’s happened 3 or 4 times. It has happened relatively violently. You have also heard of the attacks on minorities and the press. You get a sense of what is going on,” Mr Gandhi claimed.