‘Will Set Up Expert Panel To Dispel Wrong Narrative Related To Pegasus Snooping’: Centre To SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Monday heard a batch of petitions seeking various prayers including a court-monitored probe, a judicial inquiry and directions to the government to reveal details about whether it had used the Pegasus software to spy on citizens.The Supreme Court last week had granted time to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions from the Government on the petitions seeking probe into the Pegasus snooping controversy, on a request made by him.ALSO READ | Pegasus Row: More Than 500 People Write To CJI Seeking Supreme Court Intervention In Surveillance ClaimsIn a two-page affidavit filed by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Centre denied all allegations of snooping and illegal surveillance against the government.”Its a scientific thing and we will appoint a neutral body of persons and experts to dispel any wrong narrative spread by certain vested interests and with an object of examining the issues raised. What more can Centre do? This is transparency,” the Centre said.The Union government further submitted that it will set up a committee of experts to examine all aspects of the alleged surveillance of Indian citizens with the Israeli Pegasus spyware. “This is a highly technical issue, we will appoint eminent experts to examine all aspects,” the Centre said.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners in response to the denials said, “Let them say in oath that we don’t want to admit anything. I can also argue that they have not denied it. Then the matter gets even more serious.”The Supreme Court after hearing both sides said that the government can file a detailed affidavit in the matter. “It’s a limited affidavit and doesn’t satisfy the allegations whether Pegasus was used or not. Unless you furnish the info we can’t go on with the hearing. We can give you time for a detailed affidavit and decide scope of committee.” The Supreme Court has granted 10 days time to the Centre, to make appointments to Tribunals despite recommendations by the selection committees. The top court has adjourned the case till tomorrow.

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