New Delhi, September 14: An investigative report by The Indian Express on Monday revealed that a China-based technology company with links to the Chinese Communist Party is snooping on hundreds of Indians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and self-styled god woman Radhe Maa. Reacting to the report, the government said it was not "surprised" by the expose on the "hybrid war" by China. India-China Border Stand-Off: Chinese Troops' Attempts to Unilaterally Alter Status Quo in Violation of Bilateral Agreements, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tells Beijing.
Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, according to the report, has created an Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB) contents of which revealed that China is monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations. The long list of Indians being tracked by China included President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, Uddhav Thackeray, Naveen Patnaik and Shivraj Singh Chouhan among others. Indian Army, China's PLA Engaged in Fresh Clash at Pangong Tso Near LAC? PIB Fact Check Terms Reports Fake News.
Among cabinet ministers being monitored by China are Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP MP Smriti Irani, the report said. China is also snooping on Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Singh Rawat, at least 15 former Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde and brother judge AM Khanwilkar, Lokpal Justice P C Ghose and Comptroller and Auditor General G C Murmu.
The list of "targetted" Indians also includes top industrialists Ratan Tata and Gautam Adani, Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary; India Today Group Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai, The Indian Express Chief Editor Raj Kamal Jha, Sachin Tendulkar, film director Shyam Benegal, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, former Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh, several bishops and Archbishops of churches and self-styled god-woman Radhe Maa.
"The decision to ban Chinese apps was taken because of this misuse. Indian agencies flagged how common Indians unknowingly were contributing to the data bank of Chinese companies, which in turn was being shared with Chinese Communist Party and agencies," a government official was quoted by News18 as saying in the context of the report. The report comes at a time when India and China are engaged in a four-month-long standoff at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues. "In the context of the current tension, this is significant. Open-source data if collated and analysed properly can give 80% of the answers a hostile agency could be looking for," another official said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 14, 2020 01:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).