New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology will hold a crucial meet on July 28 amid the row over the Pegasus snooping allegations. During the meeting, the committee will discuss "citizens' data security and privacy", reported news agency ANI, adding that members of Union Home and I-T ministries will present during the discussions.

The Pegasus report has caused a row across the country with the opposition attacking the government for using the Israeli spyware to spy on political leaders, journalists and a Supreme Court judge. The opposition, led by Congress, has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe and a white paper by the government in Parliament explicitly stating whether the Israeli spyware was used by it or not.

However, Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has dismissed the accusations made by the opposition, calling the Pegasus report completely "false and baseless". "Any kind of illegal surveillance is not possible in our system. This media report coming a day before Parliament session is not a coincidence," he said in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also slammed the oppositon for their "baseless" accusations with his famous phrase 'Aap Chronoly Samjhiye' and said that it has been created by "obstructers" and "disrupters" to humiliate India at the world stage.

Questioning the timing of the "selective leaks" on the eve of the Monsoon session, Shah said that these "obstructers" do not want India to grow, adding that people of the country are "very good at understanding this chronology and connection".

"To see the rudderless Congress, jump on to this bandwagon is not unexpected," Shah said, "they have a good past experience in trampling over democracy and with their own house not in order, they are now trying to derail anything progressive that comes up in Parliament".

This comes after The Wire reported that phone numbers of Indian Journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware.

The spyware 'Pegasus' is developed by Israel-based NSO Group. The company specialises in hacking devices and caters to various governments of the world for spying purposes.

Forensic tests have also confirmed that the phones of some of these journalists were successfully infected with the Pegasus malware, the report said.

According to the report, the journalists who were targeted work for some news organisations in the country including Hindustan Times, The Hindu, India Today, Indian Express and Network18. Many of them cover matters related to Defence, Home Ministry, Election Commission and Kashmir among others.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma