Pegasus spyware controversy

Karnataka leaders Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy attack Modi government, BJP over Pegasus snooping

Published : July 21, 2021 11:58 IST

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (left) and D.K. Shivakumar, KPCC president. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has demanded that a “high level inquiry” into the possible use of Pegasus spyware to topple the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka in 2019.

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has demanded that a “high level inquiry” into the possible use of Pegasus spyware to topple the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka in 2019. According to a report in the news website The Wire, the phone numbers of key members of the then coalition government such as Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara and personal secretaries of Siddaramaiah and the then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy “were selected as possible targets for surveillance” suggesting that “surveillance may have played a role in toppling” of the coalition government.

Speaking at the press conference at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, Siddaramaiah explained that he does not carry a mobile phone and the number of Venkatesh, his personal secretary (PS), was tapped. Siddaramaiah alleged that this was “done at the instance of the Government of India”. “It is the Government of India headed by Mr Narendra Modi who played this dirty game to topple the opposition government…. It is a crime according to me… committed by the Government of India. This type of a dirty game should not be allowed in politics, this is not democracy,” Siddaramaiah said.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar who was also present at the press briefing demanded “a Supreme Court monitored investigation into the allegations of phone tapping.”

Taking to Twitter, JD (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, who lost power after 17 MLAs of the coalition government were lured away by the BJP in 2019, also attacked the BJP. He said, “This is one of the methods by which the BJP has toppled state governments and ensured that they continue to remain in power at the centre.” In a subsequent tweet, Kumaraswamy warned that the day was not far when the “BJP would snoop into the private lives of citizens” and termed this as a “dangerous development”.

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