Govt indulging in distraction politics, there's panic on Adani issue: Rahul on Apple phone alert

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the government over several opposition leaders receiving threat notifications from Apple of "state-sponsored attackers" targeting their phones, alleging that snooping and probe agencies are deployed to distract public attention as soon as the Adani issue is raised.


Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, he also displayed a copy of the text and e-mail warnings received by people in his office, several party and opposition leaders and said this is clearly a sign of the government's panic.

He said opposition leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mahua Moitra, Raghav Chadha among others and party leaders such as K C Venugopal, T S Singhdeo, Pawan Khera and Supriya Shrinate have received the Apple warning.

At the presser, Gandhi accused the government of indulging in "distraction politics" on the Adani issue, which the opposition has accused of creating monopolies in various sectors in the country.


"We are not scared. You can do as much phone tapping as you want, I don't care. If you want to take my phone, I will give it to you...," Gandhi said.

While iPhone-maker Apple Inc said it does not attribute threat notifications, such as the ones received by some MPs belonging to Opposition parties, to any specific state-sponsored attackers and that it cannot provide information on what causes such warnings, the BJP rejected the allegations against the government as "baseless and false".

The government has ordered an investigation into the matter and asked Apple to clarify if its devices are secure and why threat notifications were sent despite the company's repeated claims about its products being designed for privacy.


In a post on X, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the government takes its role of protecting the privacy and security of all citizens very seriously and "will investigate to get to the bottom of these notifications".

Party leader and former Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that instead of levelling allegations against the government, opposition leaders should take up the matter with Apple and file FIRs.

Gandhi later said on X, "Held the parrot's neck here and the cruel king is in agony there. Do as much spying as you want - we are not afraid, we are going to fight." Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, whose also received a similar message, said on X, "Modi government has only one slogan - 'Save Adani and destroy democracy'." "The 'B jasoos' party first used 'Pegasus' to snoop on opposition leaders and institutions, now snooping is on through other mechanism. INDIA means India will not be intimidated by such threats," he said in his post in Hindi.


AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said "Apple's clarification is a long-winded only confirms what Rahul Gandhi said." K C Venugopal also took to X as he posted, "PM Modi is only a puppet, the strings are pulled by someone else. We fought tooth and nail to drive the East India Company out of India." "We will certainly defeat the Adani Empire's monopoly that is destroying the future of India's youth, Dalits, Adivasis and backward classes," he said.

Talking to reporters, former Congress chief Gandhi claimed that the entire wealth of people, be it Dalits, tribals, backwards and the poor, is being taken away and given into the hands of one or two people who are creating monopolies in the country. He alleged that these monopolies are leading to wealth inequalities and growing unemployment.

Gandhi asserted that these inequalities will not go unless a caste census is done and the people are given their rights according to their population after conducting this X-ray.


"Very few of us are fighting against such monopolies and we will continue doing so and not relent," he said.

He also alleged that Adani was the number one man in the country even before the prime minister. "The hierarchy in the country is No. 1 - Adani, no. 2 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and no. 3 Amit Shah," he alleged, claiming that the prime minister is working for Adani.

To assert his point, Gandhi narrated a tale of a king in India against whom people stood up and the opposition attack did not affect him as he was like teflon. Later, a sage told the opposition people that the king's soul is not with him and lies in a parrot in a small cottage.


"Narendra Modi's soul is with Adani. Truth is power is in the hands of someone else. As soon as Adani is touched, intelligence agencies and snooping are deployed," he said.

Gandhi also claimed that the opposition is trying to make the people understand that their wealth is being stolen and the people are being divided to make this happen.

"Our job is to make them understand what is going on. This is clearly a sign of panic. This is against the entire opposition...This is the work of thieves and criminals," he alleged.

"Adani cannot escape, we have surrounded him. Distraction politics is taking place," he said, alleging that this distraction is being created to take away wealth of people.

He also alleged that the institutions in the country are collapsing and the BJP's financial system is directly linked with that of the Adani issue. "This problem will not be resolved by changing the government. It will require a lot more," he said.

"This is not just a political fight. This is a much deeper fight and a deeper problem. We were enslaved by a monopoly. The East India company was a foreign monopoly. We are enslaved by a similar problem of monopoly now," he asserted adding that the fight is against monopoly that made the country slave.

He said the country is divided into pro-Adani control and pro-people control which was anti-monopoly which they were fighting for.

"I'm not alone. This is an idea, a concept and crores are standing with me in this fight," he asserted, adding that he has nothing personal against Mr Adani, whom he alleged was a symbol of monopolisation in the country.

Gandhi claimed an issue like an Apple warning of "state-sponsored attackers" on their phones would have toppled any government in the past, be it of Manmohan Singh or Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

"We have now entered different politics. This would have been explosive, dynamic earlier... it would have blown the government then. It would have toppled any government earlier," he claimed.

After some opposition leaders claimed to have received messages from Apple warning them of "state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise" their iPhones and posted the purported screenshots on their X handles, Apple in a statement said it is possible that some threat notifications may be false alarms and some attacks may not be detected.

"Apple does not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker," the firm said.

"Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete. It's possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected," it said.

"We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future," Apple said. PTI ASK/SKC ZMN