Buyer was certainly Government of India: Chidambaram on Israeli envoy’s remarks on Pegasus

Buyer was certainly Government of India: Chidambaram on Israeli envoy's remarks on Pegasus thumbnail

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday attacked the Centre over the Pegasus snooping matter citing the Israeli envoy’s remarks that his country does not allow firms like NSO to sell products to non-governmental actors, and claimed that in India‘s case, the “buyer was certainly the government of India”.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday set up a three-member independent expert panel to probe the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for targeted surveillance in India, observing the state cannot get a “free pass” every time the spectre of national security is raised and that its mere invocation cannot render the judiciary a “mute spectator” and be the bugbear it shies away from.

“After the SC’s wise and bold order in the Pegasus controversy, the first skeleton has tumbled out. Yesterday, Israel’s Ambassador publicly stated that Pegasus spyware was sold only to government. So, in India’s case, the buyer was certainly the Government of India,” Chidambaram tweeted.

Will the Minister for Telecommunications admit that the buyer of Pegasus was the government of India, he asked.

“If he remains silent, the blot on his report card will remain,” Chidambaram said.

Israel’s newly-appointed Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon said on Thursday said Israel does not allow companies like NSO to sell their products to non-governmental actors.

“…Every export of NSO or such companies needs an export licence of the Israeli government. We grant this export licence only for exporting to governments,” he had said.

“This is the only main requirement…Under the requirements, they cannot sell it to non-governmental actors. What’s happening here in India is an internal thing for India and I would rather not go into your internal matters,” Gilon said.

In a significant verdict over the issue of protecting citizens’ right to privacy that was welcomed by legal experts, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asserted that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.

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