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Pegasus row: No transaction with NSO Group Technologies, defense Ministry

The Israeli firm NSO, which is also the vendor of the Pegasus military-grade spyware — the eye of the huge political storm that has been disrupting parliament’s Monsoon Session — has said it has not made any transactions with the defense ministry. The statement was part of the ministry’s response to a question from Dr V Sivadasan in the Rajya Sabha today.

The Ministry of Defence ‘has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies,’ read the written response from junior defence minister Ajay Bhat.

So far, the government has claimed that no illegal surveillance has taken place. The opposition, on the other hand, is demanding a straight answer on whether the government has a contract with the NSO and whether it has spied on citizens.

Not the defence ministry, but the Union Home Ministry and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology are involved in lawful surveillance, which is a complicated process involving checks and balances.

Since a global media consortium reported that a number of Indian politicians, journalists, and others may have been targets of Israeli spyware, the opposition has demanded answers from the government.

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