Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday hit out at the Congress and some international organisations for claiming that the government was involved in the surveillance of phones of politicians, journalists and others.
Shah said that such "obstructors" and "disruptors" will not be able to derail India's development trajectory with their conspiracies.
"This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers. Disrupters are global organisations that do not like India to progress. Obstructers are political players in India who do not want India to progress. People of India are very good at understanding this chronology and connection," he said.
The Home Minister said he wanted to assure the people of India that the Modi government's priority is clear 'National Welfare' - and it will keep working to achieve that no matter what happens.
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also dismissed the reports and said that there is not a "shred of evidence" to link either the ruling party or the Modi dispensation with the matter.
“The BJP strongly refutes and condemns the baseless and bereft of political propriety comments levelled by the Congress against the BJP,” said Prasad.
He also brushed aside a question on the Congress'' demands for Home Minister Amit Shah's resignation and probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused the opposition party of hitting a "new low" in making baseless allegations in a manner that was bereft of any political propriety.
With the Congress "shrinking and losing", the entire row is timed to disrupt Parliament and build a baseless agenda, he said.
Earlier today, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw categorically rejected in Lok Sabha allegations of snooping on politicians, journalists and others using Pegasus software, asserting that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country's laws, and alleged that attempts were being made to malign Indian democracy.
"The press reports of 18th July 2021 also appear to be an attempt to malign the Indian democracy and its well-established institutions," Vaishnaw said in his first statement in Parliament as a minister.
A row has erupted after some media reports claimed that spyware Pegasus was used to conduct surveillance on about 300 Indians, including ministers, political leaders, government officials and journalists.
The IT Minister said that those reports had no factual basis and were categorically denied by all parties, including in the Supreme Court. Speaking amid a din, he said the basis of the media report is that there is a consortium that has got access to a leaked data of 50,000 phone numbers and the allegation is that the individuals linked to these phone numbers were being spied upon.
The report, the minister said, had also observed that the presence of a phone number in the data does not reveal whether a device was infected with Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack. He further said that the report had also pointed out that the "presence of a number in the list does not amount to snooping".
The NSO, the company which owns the technology, has also "clearly rubbished the claims in the report", the minister stressed. The NSO had said that the list of countries shown using Pegasus in the report was incorrect and many countries mentioned were not even the clients of the company, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST