In India, Pegasus affair reshuffles the political card

There may be legal consequences in the Pegasus case in India. The Supreme Court, which on Thursday (August 5) was considering nine petitions from journalists, lawyers and lawmakers whose phones were spied on by government security agencies through the use of Israeli software Pegasus, found their allegations. “serious and serious” and confirms that “the truth must come out”.

The petitioners requested the opening of an independent investigation supervised by an incumbent or retired judge. The judges held a new hearing on Tuesday August 10 in the presence, this time, of a government representative.

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The creation of the commission of inquiry would be a sign of independence taken by India’s new chief justice, NV Ramana, who took office in April. A few weeks ago, judges were surprised to ask the government to reconsider the sedition law, a legacy of the British colonial era, which many authorities use to imprison citizens and opponents without trial.

His predecessor, Sharad Arvind Bobde, by contrast, has followed the Modi government step by step on key decisions, such as ending Kashmir’s autonomy, the construction of a highly controversial Hindu temple instead of a mosque in Ayodhya, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, or citizenship reform. stigmatize Muslims. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has also buried the “Rafale affair” by acquitting the government of any embezzlement in the purchase by the Indian army, in September 2016, of 36 Rafales from French group Dassault Aviation, for 7.8 billion euros.

Modi’s image is tarnished

On a political level, the Pegasus incident had had an unexpected effect: uniting the opposition, which until then had been very dispersed. Never, since Narendra Modi’s re-election, in 2019, has he spoken with one voice, despite the blows to democracy and secularism.

On Wednesday, 18 party leaders adopted a joint statement demanding a debate in Parliament, before Home Minister Amit Shah, about this massive espionage of civil society and political opponents. “We want to know if the government is buying Pegasus and spying on Indians”, said Rahul Gandhi. The Congressional leader, who is on a spy list, had gathered 15 party leaders a few days earlier for breakfast to discuss a common strategy.

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Cheryl Tenny

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