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Congress claims WhatsApp alerted Priyanka Gandhi about possible hacking of phone

"I want to tell that Priyanka Gandhi also received a similar message from WhatsApp around the same time," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 08.39 AM IST
WhatsApp alerted Priyanka Gandhi about possible hacking of phone, says Randeep Surjewala
WhatsApp alerted Priyanka Gandhi about possible hacking of phone, says Randeep Surjewala
NEW DELHI: AICC on Sunday said that party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s phone was hacked by Israeli spyware Pegasus and accused the Narendra Modi government of having spied on many opposition leaders in the runup to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too received a call from WhatsApp... When WhatsApp sent messages to all those whose phones were hacked, one such message was also received by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,” AICC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at an official briefing in New Delhi.

Pointing out that names of Mamata Banerjee and Praful Patel were already out in similar context, Surjewala accused the Modi government of having spied on opposition leaders by illegally tapping their phones ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. “We will let you know our strategy on the issue in the coming days,” he said, even as Congress, on its own and in collaboration with like-minded opposition parties, is deliberating an action plan against the government on the issue.

Demanding that the Bharatiya Janata Party be renamed as ‘Bharatiya Jasoos Party’, Surjewala demanded that the government should disclose “at what level such spying was authorised” and “whether it was the PM or the NSA who cleared the purchase of Pagasus”.

“It is clear that the BJP government, including the Ministry of Information Technology, was fully aware of the hack in April, May… In fact, only when the news report of WhatsApp suing NSO Group over the illegal spyware ‘Pegasus’ came out on October 30 that the IT minister responded on Twitter on October 31. Till today, no clarificatory statement of facts denying the complicity of the government in illegally deploying ‘Pegasus’ has been issued either by Ravi Shankar Prasad or the PMO,” Surjewala alleged.

Surjewala said: “National Internet Backbone and National Informatics Centre were both infected by Pegasus spyware. From Supreme Court to all government institutions use NIC. Was the government spying on opposition leaders, journalists and activists ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Why did the government not disclose or act on two alerts by WhatsApp.”

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