Rahul Gandhi says his phone was tapped; intelligence people cautioned him to be careful

Congress President Rahul Gandhi. (File Photo: IANS)

London: Expressing grave concern over what he called shrinking of  democratic space in India, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, during a lecture at Cambridge University, alleged that Israeli spyware Pegasus was being used to snoop into the phone of a large number of political leaders, including himself.

Gandhi said he had been warned about the snooping by intelligence officers. “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 tell me listen please be careful of what you are saying on the phone. We we are sort of recording the stuff, so this is the constant pressure we feel,” he said . Video clip of Gandhi’s lecture was shared on Twitter by Sam Pitroda, Congress leader who was also advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Rahul Gandhi addressed MBA students at Cambridge Judge Business School on the topic of ‘Learning to Listen in the 21st Century’.

The Congress leader also spoke about the cases on the Opposition leaders and himself. “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,” he said.

Last year, after  the allegations came up that the government was  using Pegasus for snooping, a Supreme Court-appointed committee, set up to look into the matter, had concluded that the spyware was not found in the 29 mobile phones which 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 the Parliament, press and the Judiciary in the country were under strain.

“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 said.

However, pointing out that 50 per cent of the people in the world’s democratic space were living in India, Gandhi said that defending democracy for him was not just about India but about defending democratic structure on the planet.

—-INDIA NEWS STREAM

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