The Defence Ministry in a written response to a question raised in the Parliament informed on Monday that it has ‘no transaction’ with Israeli firm NSO Group Technologies which has developed the Pegasus spyware which was allegedly used to illegally spy on journalists, constitutional authorities and many others.
The statement was issued by Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt in relation to the Pegasus scandal, the first ever in the Parliament, while responding to a question raised by Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala V. Sivadasan. Sivadasan had asked the Defence Ministry to reveal whether it has carried out any business transactions with NSO Group Technologies and ‘if yes, the details thereof?’
In his written response, Minister of State for Defence categorically stated that the ‘Ministry of Defence has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies’.
The controversy involving the alleged use of the Pegasus spyware in India emerged on July 18, a day before the start of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. A consortium of 17 media organizations including India’s news portal The Wire had recently uncovered a ‘snoop list’ that showed that activists, politicians, journalists, judges and several others had been the potential targets of illegal cyber surveillance conducted through Israeli firm NSO Group’s Pegasus software.