Best time to ask for advanced version of Pegasus: Chidambaram to PM

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A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 30 years of diplomatic ties with Israel, Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Sunday took a jibe and asked whether it was the best time to ask for advanced Pegasus spyware.

He said, “PM said that it is the best time to set new goals in the India-Israel relationship, Of course, it is the best time to ask Israel if they have any advanced version of the Pegasus spyware.”

“The last deal was for $2 billion. India can do better this time. If we get more sophisticated spyware ahead of the 2024 elections, we can give them even $4 billion,” he added.

After the new expose in an international publication on Pegasus, the Congress on Saturday targeted and alleged that the Modi government was involved in the whole incident and snooped on rivals ‘which was an act of treason’.

Addressing a press conference, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala jointly said that the snooping was an “act of treason”.

“The Modi Government is the deployer and executor of the illegal and unconstitutional snooping and spying racket through Israeli surveillance spyware Pegasus & the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is himself involved!”

“This is a brazen ‘Hijack of Democracy’ & ‘An Act of Treason’,” they said.

Surjewala said, “The Modi government purchased Pegasus Spyware in 2017 and other military technology as the ‘centrepieces’ of a package, including ‘weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly $2 billion’ from Israel during PM Modi’s visit. It is not a coincidence that the Budget of National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) reporting to NSA went up from Rs 33 crore to Rs 333 crore in 2017-18.”

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