Supreme Court To Give Verdict Today On Pegasus Snooping Row

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The center declined to reveal whether Pegasus was used. (Representative)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court will take a call today on whether there will be a court investigation into the Pegasus snooping row that dominated the headlines earlier this year. A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli will deliver the verdict at 10.30 am. After a detailed hearing of the case, the apex court said it was in the process of forming an independent committee of experts to investigate the matter.

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In addition to the court-monitored investigation, the petitioners – which included former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, CPM MP John Britas, Supreme Court Advocate ML Sharma, Editors Guild of India and individual journalists – asked the court to direct the government to produce them. Details of alleged unauthorized surveillance using Pegasus software, created by the Israeli company NSO Group.

The petitioners said the government should publish a list of how the spyware got the license, used it directly or indirectly and those who were targeted.

The center declined to disclose whether the spyware was used and told the court, citing national security issues, that it could not file a detailed affidavit. However, it has proposed the formation of an independent committee of experts to investigate the matter under the auspices of the Supreme Court.

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A clutch of petitions was filed in the apex court in July after a consortium of global media houses reported that many opposition politicians, journalists and others were targeting spyware.

According to the news portal “The Wire”, more than 142 people in India were potential targets. The alleged list includes Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, Prashant Kishore, an election strategist, two Union ministers, a former election commissioner, two registrars of the Supreme Court, an old number of former judges, a close associate of a former attorney general and 40 journalists. .

Forensic analysis of some cellphones by Amnesty International’s security lab has confirmed security breaches, the report said.

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Software vendor NSO says its clients only face government pressure after “tested” government and their firms. In the face of the opposition’s weapons against the report, very little was done in the monsoon session of parliament.

Even BJP’s ally Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has joined the opposition to demand an inquiry.

The government said in a statement to parliament that no illegal intervention had taken place. But there was no discussion on the issue in both the chambers, which angered the opposition.

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Disclaimer: The NSO Group, the owner of Pegasus, admits that it is used to hack spyware and phones, but says it only does business with the government and government agencies. The Israeli agency said it did not support the list of possible targets reported by media outlets around the world. The Indian government has said there is “no summary” of reports that Pegasus is using it against anti-government leaders, journalists and others. NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the list of those targeted.

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