NEW DELHI (Dispatches) – Indian army officials, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) were potential targets for surveillance by Pegasus spyware that belongs to a Zionist firm, a report revealed on Monday.
The phone numbers of former BSF head K.K. Sharma, BSF Inspector General of Police Jagdish Maithani, retired senior RAW official Jitendra Kumar Ojha and his wife were reportedly targeted by the military-grade Zionist spyware system, RIA Novosti reported.
The Indian Army’s Colonel Mukul Dev and Colonel Amit Kumar also feature in the ‘Project Pegasus’ database.
According to reports published by a media consortium, the ‘Pegasus’ spyware was used by a client of Zionist firm NSO to snoop on 300 Indian phone numbers, including journalists, politicians, government officials, activists and bureaucrats.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest rival Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker Abhishek Banerjee, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, federal Information and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Jal Shakti Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa were some of the prominent names that featured in the list.
The cyber company NSO Group based in the occupied territories, which developed ‘Pegasus’ and sold it to foreign governments, has denied the involvement of the spyware in the alleged snooping. The Indian government has denied any role in the spygate, claiming “attempts were being made to malign democracy”.
Meanwhile, West Bengal state chief Mamata Banerjee has announced the creation of a two-member commission to probe the snooping.
Amnesty International said reports that governments used phone malware supplied by a Zionist firm to spy on journalists, activists and heads of state have “exposed a global human rights crisis”, asking for a moratorium on the sale and use of surveillance technology.
The NSO Group’s Pegasus software – able to switch on a phone’s camera or microphone and harvest its data – is at the center of a storm after a list of about 50,000 potential surveillance targets was leaked to rights groups.
Amnesty International and French media nonprofit Forbidden Stories collaborated with several media companies, including the Washington Post, the Guardian and Le Monde, to analyze and publish the list.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was on the list of targets, had to change his phone and number.
“Not only does it expose the risk and harm to those individuals unlawfully targeted, but also the extremely destabilizing consequences on global human rights and the security of the digital environment at large,” Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s Secretary General, said in the statement.
An investigation has revealed that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum – also known as Princess Latifa – who was running away from her father, the ruler of Dubai, when her escape was thwarted after a dramatic raid of her yacht in 2018, was captured using the Zionist phone hacking spyware Pegasus.