Mamata Banerjee said today that her government rejected an offer a few years ago to buy the Israeli spy Pegasus. The use of a spy to search political enemies is “unacceptable,” the Bengali prime minister told reporters.
“They came to our police department to sell their machines. They asked for 25 million euros for that, five years ago. It came to me, I said no, we don’t want to buy machines like that,” said Mamata Banerjee.
“If it were for anti-national activities and security, it could have been something else. But it is used for political reasons, it is used against officials and judges, and that is not acceptable,” he added.
There was a political cataclysm on the Pegasus spyware – which was only sold to governments – allegedly used to target Indian opposition leaders, journalists and others.
In 2019, a media consortium, including The Wire, revealed that 300 phones in India were on the list of potential targets in the NSO database, which supplies Pegasus spyware. It is not established, however, that all the phones were hacked.
Phones of opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Supreme Court judges, ministers and journalists were potential targets.
Ms. Banerjee complained yesterday that she was touching her phone. “They’re touching my phone. If we talk about anything, they’ll find out. Three years ago, I even received an offer to buy Pegasus. But I didn’t buy it. I don’t believe in restricting privacy and restricting freedom of expression. “He said.
His Pegasus claims come from a BJP leader, Anirban Ganguly, who has been using spyware since Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2016.
The Supreme Court is receiving a dozen requests from journalists, opposition politicians, judges and other prominent people to use spyware for surveillance.
The government has strongly denied allegations that it bought Pegasus software.