Kolkata

Mamata urges Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of Pegasus spyware row

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shows her taped phone while speaking on the the Pegasus spyware row during the Trinamool Congress Martyrs’s Day event in Kolkata on July 21, 2021. Photo: West Bengal CMO via PTI
Shiv Sahay Singh Kolkata 21 July 2021 16:29 IST
Updated: 21 July 2021 20:08 IST

“I have put plaster on my camera, GOI should be plastered out,” the Bengal Chief Minister said, showing her phone.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of the Pegasus spyware row, and asked all Opposition parties to form a united front against the BJP without any delay.

“My humble regards to our Hon’ble Supreme Court. Why can’t the court take suo motu cognisance when judges’ phones are tapped?... Either take suo motu cognisance or set up an SIT [special investigation team] monitored by you to know whose phones were affected.… Only the judiciary can save democracy,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee was addressing the annual Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata, which was telecast live across several States, including Delhi.

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(The July 21 Martyrs’ Day rally is an annual one organised by the Trinamool Congress to commemorate the 1993 Kolkata firing).

The Trinamool Congress chairperson asserted, “We have to come together; we must forget our individual interests and come together to save the country. To work together, we must form a front without any delay”.

Visit to Delhi

She would visit New Delhi later this month and would be happy to attend any meeting of Opposition leaders between July 26 and 29. “I also want to meet important leaders… Chidambaram ji [Congress leader P. Chidambaram] will be there, Sharad ji [NCP chairperson Sharad Pawar] will be there, I am ready to attend any meeting between July 26 and 29,” she stated.

 

Ms. Banerjee, who is likely to visit Delhi after two years on July 25, remarked, “The general election is still two-and a half years away but nothing will be achieved if we form an alliance just before it”.

The Chief Minister urged each and every Opposition party to start working together to make a “front” and not leave matters for the last moment. “If the doctor comes after death, nothing will happen. If the treatment is done on time, the patient can be cured. Now is your time. The more time you waste, the more the situation will worsen,” she emphasised.

Thanks leaders

She thanked Opposition leaders such as Mr. Pawar and Supriya Sule of the NCP, Mr. Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh of the Congress, Ram Gopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan of the Samajwadi Party, Tiruchi Siva of the DMK, K. Keshav Rao of the TRS, Manoj Jha of the RJD and Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena, who were present at the Constitutional Club in New Delhi, where her speech was telecast.

The Chief Minister alleged that her phone was tapped. She said she had put plasters on her phone as “they [Centre] tap everything”

“ See, I have put plasters on it, what else can I do. The camera turns on when I use audio or face time or even make video calls. I have put plaster on my phone’s camera. The Government of India should be plastered, or else the country will be in ruin,” she stated, showing her cell phone with tapes on the camera.

The Chief Minister, who spoke in Bengali, Hindi and English during a hour-long speech, alleged that the Centre cannot trust anyone, including its own Ministers.

“I cannot talk to Chidambaram ji, Sharad Pawar ji because my phone is tapped, cannot talk to Delhi CM, Telangana CM or any other CM… what is Pegasus,” she asked.

‘Pegasus is dangerous’

During her speech, she repeatedly said, “Pegasus is dangerous and ferocious”.

Ms. Banerjee accused the Centre of indulging in “spygiri [surveillance]”, as “even the phones of Union Ministers were tapped’’, and the BJP of being a “high-load virus” party. She blamed the Prime Minister for the “monumental failure” in handling the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. She thanked the State people for electing her to power for a third term. “Bengal was the model State” for the country, not Gujarat, she added.

Ms. Banerjee also relaunched her party’s mouthpiece Jaago Bangla as a daily, with the lead article saying, “Ebar Sapath Chalo Delhi [Now let’s go to Delhi]”.

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