Bhopal, Jul 20 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said the Pegasus spyware row was a 'fabricated story based on lies' and a conspiracy to defame Indian democracy.
An international media consortium reported on Sunday that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the spyware.
It has rocked the monsoon session of Parliament, with the Centre and opposition parties trading charges.
'The Pegasus spyware issue is a deep conspiracy to defame Indian democracy. The developer of Pegasus has already said most of its customers are from Western countries, so why is India being targeted on this issue? This is a fabricated story based on lies. There is no evidence to implicate the Union government,” Chouhan told reporters at a hurriedly called press conference at his residence.
'The truth is that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the resolve to build a glorious and prosperous India is being fulfilled. Some foreign powers and the Congress are not able to digest this,” Chouhan said.
Chouhan claimed several bills and schemes related to the welfare of the poor were to be presented and discussed in Parliament, but the opposition wanted to stall these so raised the Pegasus issue.
He said for the BJP, the nation came first, whereas it was family first for the Congress, and also mocked Rahul Gandhi by asking what anyone would get by tapping the phone of one 'who manufactures gold from potatoes'.
The CM further alleged that the Congress had a history of snooping on its own leaders, and claimed 9,000 phone calls were tapped during the term of the UPA government.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former MP CM Kamal Nath said Chouhan was dishing out lies and pointed out that the Pegasus issue was raised by the international media and not the opposition party.
He also slammed Chouhan for the 'gold from potatoes' jibe on Gandhi and alleged that an edited video on this was made by the BJP's IT Cell.
Nath said Chouhan was 'standing with lies' as there was a crisis for his chair and claimed the latter must be cautious as 'you are next in line (for leadership change)'. PTI ADU BNM BNM BNM