After the Supreme Court on Thursday noted that the Centre did not co-operate with the investigation into alleged surveillance by Pegasus spyware, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that the government wants to crush democracy in India.

“PM and his govt’s non-cooperation with the SC appointed committee is an acceptance that they had something deeper to hide and want to crush democracy,” Gandhi wrote in a tweet.

The Supreme Court had appointed an expert committee to look into allegations of illegal surveillance of citizens using the Pegasus spyware. On Thursday, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said that some malware was found on five of the 29 phones that the panel examined.

However, it was not clear whether the malware was Pegasus.

The judges also took note of a finding by the panel that the Centre did not co-operate with the inquiry.

“The same stand you took here [before the Supreme Court], you took there,” Chief Justice Ramana told the Centre.

On Thursday, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh also said that the spyware was used to put a dent in India’s democracy, PTI reported.

“This weapon is against the law and Constitution,” Vallabh added. “How can they [Centre] give the answer? Sometimes not giving an answer is also an answer, the government has made it clear [by not giving answers] that they used Pegasus against democracy.”

Vallabh made the statement while addressing a press conference at the Congress party headquarters in Delhi.

“By staying silent, the government has made it clear that it used the Pegasus spyware against Rahul Gandhi, other Opposition leaders, scientists, election commissioner, registrar of the Supreme Court, civil society activists and senior journalists,” Vallabh added.

The Pegasus spyware is licensed to governments around the world by Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group. The company insists that it licences the software only to “vetted governments” with good human rights records and that Pegasus is intended to target criminals.

According to The Wire, the list of potential people who were targeted using the spyware includes Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, former Election Commissioner of India Ashok Lavasa, Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel, industrialist Anil Ambani and former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma.

‘Will Rahul Gandhi apologise now?’ asks BJP

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded that Gandhi should apologise to the Centre, claiming that the panel did not find “any Pegasus virus” in the 29 mobile phones it examined, ANI reported.

“The crucial point to note is that a high technical committee, supervised by a judge of the SC, has not found any Pegasus virus in any of the 29 mobiles submitted for the examination,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. “Will Rahul Gandhi apologise now for accusing us of treason?”

Prasad said that the surveillance allegations raised by the Congress was an attempt to weaken the Narendra Modi-led government, the Hindustan Times reported.

“If you want to oppose us, then do that in elections,” Prasad said. “But there you are losing one election after another and their defeat will continue in the coming days as well.”

Prasad said that the Congress has no authority to preach the BJP on snooping.

“I am very sorry to refer to former finance minister Pranab Mukerjee, whose office was bugged by the Congress,” he added. “It was known as the chewing gum gate. Remember?”

Citing a Right to Information reply in 2013, Prasad accused the United Progressive Alliance government of watching around 9,000 phones and 500 email accounts every month, ANI reported.

“The problem of Rahul Gandhi, his party and his associates, NGOs is that they have so much animosity towards our PM that they resort to falsehood to expand their party,” the BJP leader said, reported the Hindustan Times. “The moment the falsehood explodes, the party shrinks further.”