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Andhra Pradesh government using spyware in ‘interest of state’, not to snoop on Opposition, says YSR Congress

The ruling YSR Congress MLA and spokesman G Amarnath revealed that the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has been using the spyware but only for the purposes of state security and not for any political means. 

Andhra Pradesh government using spyware in ‘interest of state’, not to snoop on Opposition, says YSR Congress

New Delhi: The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday (March 22) accepted using spyware for telephone tapping and other purposes to keep a “tab on anti-social elements”. 

The ruling YSR Congress MLA and spokesman G Amarnath revealed that the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has been using the spyware but only for the purposes of state security and not to obtain political gains by snooping, PTI reported. 

“If you ask if your government is using it, yes, in the interest of the state and security. Not to snoop on (Leader of Opposition) Chandrababu Naidu and listen to his private conversations," Amarnath said, as per the news agency.

“There are certain rules and regulations and terms and conditions for the use of spyware. Every state government in the country uses phone tapping and other equipment and software to check anti-social elements or to protect state security,” he claimed. 

This comes in the wake of an ongoing tussle in Andhra Pradesh over the Pegasus software, following alleged remarks by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the previous TDP government purchased the spyware. 

The ruling YSRC government has claimed that the previous Chandrababu Naidu government purchased the Pegasus spyware by Israeli company NSO Group.

The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday constituted a Legislature House Committee to probe into the alleged purchase and illegal use of Pegasus spyware by the previous Naidu government. 

The opposition TDP has maintained that no such purchase was ever made. Former chief of state intelligence A B Venkateswara Rao, who has been accused of buying the Pegasus spyware when TDP was in power, asserted that no spyware was purchased when he was the Intelligence chief. 

"As long as I was the Intelligence chief (till April 2019), Pegasus or any such spyware was not purchased. That's final. You have to ask the present government if anything was bought after May 2019," Venkateswara Rao had said on Monday. 

(With PTI inputs)

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