PM, Shah should provide answers on snooping: Congress

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Nagpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah should provide "answers" about alleged hacking of mobile phones of political leaders, journalists and activists in the country, the Congress said on Tuesday.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among those who were informed by messaging app WhatsApp recently that their phones had been hacked for snooping purposes by a spyware, the Congress had claimed earlier.

Addressing a press conference here, party spokesperson Pawan Kherasaid, "The government has no answers on snooping.

WhatsApp, in its affidavit in a US court has said that Israeli company NSO hacked phones of people including many in India.

"NSO told the court that it provides services only to government agencies. However, Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad does not have the answer as to which government agency used the services of NSO," he said.

"Hence, we demand prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah provide answers on this, (as) may be Ravi Shankar Prasad does not know about it," Khera said.

The government should come clean on whose phones were `tapped', he added, claiming that even BJP leaders could be among those who were targeted.

WhatsApp had informed the Indian government in September that 121 Indian users were targeted by the Israeli spyware Pegasus, but IT ministry contended that the information provided was inadequate.

On a question about the current political uncertainty in Maharashtra, Khera said the state, reeling under the damage caused by unseasonal rain, needs a stable government, but chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is busy in the tussle with the Shiv Sena over power-sharing post-elections.

The Congress spokesperson also claimed that in Haryana farmers and the youth voted against the BJP in the assembly elections, as they had faced a "betrayal".

Hitting out at the government over the economic slowdown, he said, "The economy lies in shambles today. Job creation is in coma as economic and and agriculture growth remains on ventilator.

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