The Maharashtra Congress on Tuesday called upon Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to order a judicial enquiry – on the lines of West Bengal – into the alleged snoop-gate scandal.
State Congress president Nana Patole and party MP from Chandrapur Suresh alias Balubhai Dhanorkar made the identical demand, seeking a judicial commission comprising retired judges to investigate the issue and unravel the truth behind the spying scandal.
In a statement, Patole said it has come to light in the global media that important political leaders, lawyers, journalists, social activists and others were being monitored through phone hacking by the Pegasus spyware.
“Though the central government has yet to order a probe, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has constituted a committee to delve into the issue. The Maharashtra government should also form a similar committee to go into the matter,” Patole.
Penning a letter to Thackeray, Dhanorkar said that there have been media reports that the then CM Devendra Fadnavis had sent some officials to Israel.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that it was an agriculture study tour. But, prominent lawyer Satish Uke had written to Nagpur Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar on May 23, 2021 whether any surveillance carried out by the BJP leaders, needs to be probed,” said Dhanorkar.
Referring to his own case, Patole said that during the Fadnavis regime, the phone numbers of several prominent political leaders were tapped.
“My own number was being tapped under the name of ‘Amjadkhan’ in connection with the drugs trade. The matter was raised in the assembly and it is being probed,” the state Congress chief pointed out.
“Given the gravity of this issue now, we need to know whether there is any connection between the phone-tapping during Fadnavis government and the Pegasus spyware, was this technology also deployed in the state, from where it came, and many other such unanswered questions. The truth will emerge if the Maharashtra government appoints a probe commission of retired judges,” Patole urged.
Seeking an independent investigation by retired judges, Dhanorkar said it was imperative to find the truth of how deep the tentacles of the snooping scandal are spread in Maharashtra.
“In a democracy, if the elected government is keeping tabs on people in such a manner, then it’s a very serious matter. The truth must be revealed,” the MP urged.
The Congress is a constituent of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government with Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party as the other partners.