Veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe by its sitting or retired judge into the reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli spyware Pegasus.
The petition, likely to come up for hearing within next few days, sought to investigate if the illegal hacking into the phones using the Pegasus spyware represented an attempt by agencies and organisations to muzzle and chill the exercise of free speech and expression of dissent in India.
The reports have been issued which states that the Israeli Pegasus spyware is allegedly being used to spy on 40 journalists and two union ministers. The petition filed by the journalists says that the global investigation against the spyware states that more than 142 people were on the list of spyware. Hence, the Supreme Court should instruct the government to disclose that whether it has obtained a license for the spyware or used it directly or indirectly to initiate surveillance of any kind on the people.
The petitioners have claimed that the forensic reports of the mobile phones of people whose names were on the list have showcases security breaches.
The names of the potential targets on the list that was leaked included the names of Rahul Gandhi, two Union Ministers, businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, a virologist and 40 journalists. The list comprised of 300 names from all across the world according to the leaked database of NSO. However, it has not been clear that all the phones on the list were hacked.