Priyanka Gandhi too was target of WhatsApp hacking, claims Congress

Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 12:21 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Says government has adopted a sinister role and questions if it considers right to privacy a joke

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Pic/AFP
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Pic/AFP

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday claimed its leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had received a message from WhatsApp informing her that her phone was suspected to have been hacked and accused the government of being involved in a 'surveillance racket', but the ruling BJP hit back saying the opposition party was imagining things that don't exist.

This comes after WhatsApp said last week that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among roughly 1,400 users globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware, Pegasus. As the political row over the issue intensified, Parliamentary standing committees on home affairs and information-technology headed by Congress leaders were also likely to take up the snooping allegations and seek details from top government officials, including the Home Secretary.

'I want to tell that Priyanka Gandhi also received a similar message from WhatsApp around the same time,' Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Taunting that BJP's new name should be 'Bhartiya Jasoos (snooping) Party', he alleged that the Centre is the 'deployer and executor' of this 'illegal and unconstitutional snooping and spying racket'.

BJP spokesperson Amit Malviya, however, trashed the Congress' allegations. 'Haven't we seen Congress imagining things that don't exist? Remember them claiming that Rahul Gandhi's life was in danger when a green light, off a video camera, flashed on his face during a media briefing. Well, that is the level of their leaders' credibility in public life,' he said in a tweet.

'A sinister role is being adopted by the government. The question is do people in India have a right to privacy and the rule of law or is right to privacy a joke to be trashed by Modi government as per its whims and fancies. This is a subject of far-reaching consequences,' Surjewala said.

Two parl panels to take up snooping case

Two parliamentary panels headed by Congress leaders have decided to examine the WhatsApp snooping case and will seek details from top government officials including the Home Secretary. Congress leader Anand Sharma who chairs the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, said this issue will be taken up at the panel's next meeting on November 15. Shashi Tharoor said, 'We will be seeking clarifications from the government'. Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday said many people he met have raised concerns over breach of privacy. On Saturday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed her phones were being tapped.

No. of users globally spied upon via Pegasus

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