Sunday, May 19, 2024

Pegasus: SC grants probe panel time till June 20 to submit report

The Supreme Court-appointed technical committee was Friday granted four weeks to submit its report on the Pegasus row.

Chief Justice N V Ramana directed the probe panel to submit its report to the supervising judge by 20 June, 2022.

The Supreme court said that the supervising judge would study the panel’s report and give his opinion to the court by June end.

The probe panel told the apex court that it has examined 29 mobile phones for Pegasus spyware and also has recorded statements of some petitioners, activists and journalists.

Last year, an investigation by a global consortium of media outlets showed how the Israeli-made malicious spyware was used by governments around the world to spy on politicians, activists and journalists via their mobile phones.

More than 1,000 phone numbers in India were among nearly 50,000 selected worldwide as possibly of interest to clients of the Israel-based NSO Group, the maker of the Pegasus spyware.

India’s Defence Ministry told Parliament last year that it “has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies” while main opposition Congress party has accused the government of committing “treason.”

In January this year, a New York Times report had stated that the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi acquired spyware from Israel as part of a weapon purchase deal in 2017.

The report said Pegasus and a missile system were the “centerpieces” of a roughly $2bn deal of sophisticated weapons and intelligence tools back then.

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