Mumbai: Even as the Pegasus snooping row has been triggering intense debates and discussions, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday questioned who had funded the alleged snooping by the spyware in the country.
Raut went ahead to compare the row with Hiroshima atomic bombing, saying that people had died in Hiroshima, while the Pegasus case had led to the death of freedom.
He quoted a report that said NSO, the Israeli company that owns Pegasus, charged Rs 60 crore annually as licence fee for the software. He added that one licence could allow hacking of 50 phones; thus, six-seven licences would be needed to hack the 300-odd phones that were purportedly on the list of targets.
Sanjay Raut went on to question how much money was spend and who paid for it. He asked if the government has the capacity to spend Rs 300 crore on spying 300 people.
“The modern technology has taken us back to slavery,” Raut said in his weekly column ‘Rokhthok’ in Saamana, the Sena’s mouthpiece. Raut is its executive editor.
The Rajya Sabha MP from Shiv Sena claimed that politicians, industrialists and social activists fear they are being spied upon, and that the same pressure is being felt by journalists and judiciary members.
Sanjay Raut said that BJP leader and former IT minister Ravishankar Prasad had said that 45 countries in the world used Pegasus to justify the spying.
It may be noted that Prasad, while defending the central government last week, had questioned why India was being targeted for the use of the spyware when 45 countries were using it.
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