No transaction with NSO group: Defence ministry's response in Parliament amid Pegasus row | India News - Times of India

No transaction with NSO group: Defence ministry’s response in Parliament amid Pegasus row | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The ministry of defence on Monday said that it has had no transaction with the NSO group, the Israeli firm that is at the centre of alleged snooping controversy involving the Pegasus spyware.
The ministry said this in a written response in the Rajya Sabha.
This is the first time the government has responded to pointed questions over the Pegasus snooping row.
The opposition had mounted a scathing attack on the government during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, asking it to have a full-fledged debate on the issue.
A massive controversy had erupted last month over allegations of government surveillance targeting various prominent individuals in the country using the Israeli software.
An international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two union ministers — Prahlad Singh Patel and Railways and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw — businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, and at least 40 journalists are on the list on the leaked database of NSO. It is, however, not established that all the phones were hacked.

The government had earlier denied the reports of surveillance, saying that such allegations has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever.
In a detailed statement, it had described the news reports based on the Pegasus leak a “fishing expedition” meant to malign the Indian democracy and its institutions.





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