NSO came to Bengal to sell Pegasus spyware, but I turned it down: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Thursday, said NSO Group, an Israeli cyber intelligence company, had come to the state police department about four-to-five years back, to sell their spyware, Pegasus, at a cost of Rs 25 crore. Banerjee said she had turned down the offer as she felt “it could have been used politically”, against judges/ officials, something that was unacceptable. 

The remarks by Mamata Banerjee were made during the West Bengal budget. She alleged that the spyware was now being used to “suppress voices” and that her calls were being tapped. 

Also, Banerjee’s disclosure comes even as the Supreme Court is looking at a batch of petitions alleging that Israeli spyware Pegasus was used for surveillance of certain people in India.

Meanwhile, Banerjee has been constantly hitting out the Central government-led by Narendra Modi using the military grade Israeli spyware for targeting phones of journalists, politicians, activists, businessmen, and others.

The Bengal government had ordered an inquiry into the Pegasus snooping row that had came to fore last year, ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. 

In July last year, BJP leader Dilip Ghosh had claimed that Mamata Banerjee was using Pegasus. News agency ANI quoted Ghosh saying, “Trinamool Congress leaders don’t communicate except for messaging on WhatsApp, as they know that Mamata Banerjee herself taps their phones. She and her govt uses Pegasus software. Phone tapping is not our work, but that of Congress, from where Mamata has come.”

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