New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The chaos in the Parliament continued on Thursday after Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Santunu Sen snatched and tore Union I-T Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's statement in the Rajya Sabha over the Pegasus snooping report.

The incident forced Vaishnaw to cut short his statement in the Rajya Sabha. However, he said that the report was an attempt to "malign the Indian Democracy and its well-established institutions" before concluding his speech.

"A highly sensational story was published by a web portal on July 18. Many over-the-top allegations were made around this story. The press reports appeared a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. This can't be a coincidence," said Vaishnaw, as reported by news agency ANI.

"In the past, similar claims were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports had no factual basis and were categorically denied by all parties, including in the Supreme Court," he added.

Following the incident, a verbal feud also broke out between Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Shantanu Sen, forcing the marshals to intervene and bring the situation under control.

Later, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta attacked the TMC for the "hooliganism" inside the House and said that Shantanu Sen went against all norms by snatching and tearing Vaishnaw's statement.

"It seems that some people of Opposition, notably some of the TMC MPs, got up and took the paper from the hands of the Minister (IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while he was speaking on 'Pegasus') and tore it up. This is completely unseemly behaviour," he told ANI.

According to reports, the names of over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware.

The reports have claimed that 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.

However, the Centre has said that there is 'no substance' in the media report regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp, adding that the report was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma