On Sunday evening, news reports flooded the internet, saying that the Indian government was among the 10 governments that were targeted using Israel-made spyware - Pegasus. The spyware software reportedly targeted 40 Indian journalists from big media houses.
The Congress soon accused the government of "treason" and demanded the sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah and a probe into the "role of Prime Minister" Narendra Modi in the matter, news agency PTI reported.
Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala held Shah responsible for the Pegasus spying issue.
He said Congress will take all Opposition parties on-board over the issue and decided whether to ask for a judicial or parliamentary probe in the matter.
"Our first demand is the immediate sacking of Minister of Home and Internal security Amit Shah and a probe into the role of the prime minister in the matter," Surjewala said.
Commenting on Congress' accusations, Shah said: "Rudderless Cong jumping on to this bandwagon is not unexpected; they have experience in trampling on democracy."
"A few trying to peddle same old narratives about our nation and derail India's development trajectory: HM Amit Shah on snooping row," he added.
"A report has been amplified by few with only one aim - to humiliate India at world stage," Shah said.
Earlier, media reports suggested that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's two phone numbers were allegedly among 300 verified Indian numbers listed as potential targets. Also on the list was the current IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, according to the report.
Besides Gandhi, five of his social friends and acquaintances were also placed on the list of potential targets, thewire.in reported.
This comes on the day the Centre denied all reports of spying on public figures and journalists. Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the reports suggesting the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp were baseless and not factual.
"A highly sensational story was published by a web portal last night. Many over-the-top allegations were made around this story. The press reports appeared a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. This can't be a coincidence," Vaishnaw said.
Vaishnaw also added that it is impossible to attain illegal surveillance within a robust system like ours.
"Requests for lawful interceptions of electronic communication are made as per relevant rules under provisions of Sec 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 & Sec 69 of Information Technology Act 2000. Each case of interception is approved by the competent authority," Vaishnaw further added.