Lashing out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his claim of being snooped on through Israeli spyware Pegasus, Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday said it is his habit to raise unfounded allegations and ‘defame’ India on foreign shores.
The Union minister’s statement comes in the wake of Rahul Gandhi claiming, in a lecture at Cambridge University, that his phone was being spied on through be “careful” about what he says on the calls.
“I 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.
Hitting back at Rahul, Thakur asked why he did not submit his phone for examination before the Supreme Court-appointed committee, which was set up to look into the snooping allegations against the government.
“What was his compulsion that he could not submit his mobile phone (before the committee) to have it checked for Pegasus spyware? He is already on bail in a (National Herald) corruption case. What was there in his phone that he needed to hide? Why did he and other leaders (who Rahul claims were allegedly spied on) not submit their phones? It has become his habit to defame India on foreign shores,” Thakur said.
While not naming billionaire investor George Soros, who was recently in the news over his statement against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a security conference in Munich, Thakur said, “It could be Rahul Gandhi’s hatred towards the Prime Minister (that makes him raise such allegations). But it also raises larger questions on the Congress’ agenda to defame the country repeatedly from a foreign land, sometimes from a foreign friend. Has Congress lost its faith in our constitutional institutions? Will Congress continue to raise questions about India’s democracy? Rahul Gandhi left no stone unturned in defaming India on foreign land,” the Union minister added.
Thakur said the Congress MP has Pegasus in his mind and nowhere else.