Pegasus Spyware row: Supreme Court to pass order next week, intends to set up probe panel

The pleas soliciting an independent inquiry refer to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on prominent citizens, politicians and authors by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court said it would pass an interim order by next week on requests inquiring an independent investigation into the Pegasus spyware case. A bench headed by Chief Justice N N Ramana said the order, which was supposed to be declared earlier, will be passed next week.

“The Supreme Court intends to set up a technical experts committee to look into charges. The matter is taking time as some experts it had in mind to be committee members expressed difficulties. Will finalise it by next week,” the CJI said.

On September 13, the top court had held its order, stating that it only wanted to find out whether the Centre used the Pegasus spyware through illicit means to snoop on citizens allegedly. The Centre had firmly declined to file an affidavit indicating national security on pleas requiring an independent inquiry into the Pegasus row.

The pleas soliciting an independent inquiry refer to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on prominent citizens, politicians and authors by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus. The accusations were presented via media reports from an international consortium that involved an Indian Independent news agency, The Wire and said devices of government dissenters were hacked.

The Wire alleges phone numbers of more than 300 opposition leaders, journalists, and other prominent figures such as Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, poll strategist Prashant Kishor and Anil Ambani were among the potential targets.

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