Mamata Banerjee disclosed to the General Assembly on Wednesday that her government had been offered Pegasus spyware, which she rejected because it could invade people’s privacy.

A day after the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, revealed that the controversial Pegasus spyware had been offered to her government, she gave more details on Thursday, stating that state police had been approached at least four to five years ago with an offer to remove the controversial Israeli spyware to sell. for just Rs 25 crore.

The prime minister said she turned it down when she found out. Banerjee also claimed that instead of using the spyware for the security of the country, it was used by the central government, which she said bought it, for “political” reasons against judges and officials.

However, the Telugu Desam party denied claims it had made on Wednesday that the then Prime Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, bought the spyware during his tenure.

“They (NSO, the company that developed Pegasus) had approached everyone to sell their wares. They had also approached our police four-five years ago and offered to sell it for Rs 25 crore. I had the information, but I said we didn’t need it,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat.

“If it was used for the benefit of the country or for security reasons, then it was a very different matter, but it has been used for political purposes, against judges, officers, which is not welcome at all,” she claimed.

The Bangladeshi prime minister told the Assembly on Wednesday that her government had been offered Pegasus spyware, which she had rejected because it could invade people’s privacy.

During her unveiling in the Assembly, the fiery leader had also claimed that the government of Andhra “had it in the time of Chandrababu (Naidu)”.

However, the Telegu Desam party denied the claim, saying that the Chandrababu Naidu government had made no such purchase.

“We’ve never bought spyware before. We have never indulged in illegal phone tapping,” Telugu Desam Party general secretary Nara Lokesh said here on Thursday.

Responding to Banerjee’s claim that Chandrababu Naidu’s previous government had bought the Pegasus spyware, Lokesh, the then Information Technology Minister in his father’s cabinet, Chandrababu, said: “I don’t know if she actually said this, and where and in what context… If she did say this, she was definitely misinformed.”

However, he said the software was offered to the state government.

“Yes, Pegasus offered to sell its spyware to the AP government as well, but we turned it down,” Lokesh said.

If the government had bought the spyware, there would be a record of it, he pointed out.

An international media consortium last year reported that more than 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for Pegasus spyware surveillance.

A New York Times report earlier this year alleging that India had bought Pegasus spyware as part of a $2 billion defense deal with Israel in 2017 had sparked a major controversy with the opposition alleging the government had surrendered. to illegal snooping that amounted to “treason”.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a series of pleadings over allegations of misuse of this spyware in India.

This post CM Mamata Banerjee says West Bengal government was offered controversial Pegasus spyware for Rs 25 crore

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