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Friday, December 3, 2021
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False Narratives To Be Investigated By Set Panel, Govt Tells SC

The government told the Supreme Court today that the Pegasus snooping claims are based on speculation and “unsubstantiated media stories,” and that they will be investigated by a panel of specialists to refute any false narratives.

The Centre refuted claims relating to recent reports that Israeli Pegasus spyware – sold only to governments – was used to target opposition leaders, journalists, and others in a two-page affidavit filed by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The government “unambiguously denies” the charges, which are “based on conjectures and surmises or other unsubstantiated media reports or incomplete or uncorroborated material,” according to the statement.

The government told the court that the petitioners “have not made out any case.” The government, however, will form a committee of experts in the field to look into all aspects of the issue “to dispel any wrong narrative spread by certain vested interests and with an object of examining the issues raised,” according to the affidavit, citing Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s statement in parliament.

The Pegasus allegations dominated a tense stalemate between the government and the opposition in parliament’s monsoon session, which resulted in several interruptions and chaos.

300 phones from India were discovered to be on the list of prospective targets in the hacked database of NSO, which sells the Pegasus malware, according to a media consortium led by The Wire. However, it has not been proven that all of the phones were hacked.

The phones of opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Supreme Court judges, ministers, and journalists, according to sources, were among the possible targets.

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