The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed an expert committee to investigate the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for the surveillance of Indian citizens. A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the three-member committee will be headed by former Supreme Court Justice RV Raveendran.
Citing national security, the Center refused to file a detailed affidavit in the case.
The calls relate to reports of suspected espionage by government agencies on prominent citizens, politicians and scribes using Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO.
In July, an investigation by a global media consortium on the basis of leaked targeting data provided further evidence that military-grade malware is being used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents.
From a list of more than 50,000 mobile phone numbers obtained by the Parisian journalism association Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organizations, the journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 people in 50 countries who would have been selected by NSO Clients for potential surveillance.
They include 189 journalists, more than 600 politicians and government officials, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists and several heads of state, according to the Washington Post, a member of the consortium. Journalists work for organizations such as the The Bharat Express News, Reuters, TBEN, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and the TBEN.