Ground Report | New Delhi: Pegasus Project; Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was chosen as potential targets of the Israel-made Pegasus spyware program by clients of the NSO Group cyber espionage firm, a global investigation could reveal on Monday. Besides Gandhi, political strategist Prashant Kishor and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s MP nephew Abhishek Banerjee were also on the list.
In the months before and after the vote, two numbers related to Gandhi, who led the Congress party during India’s 2019 national elections, were selected as candidates for possible surveillance by the NSO, whose spying device Pegasus allows customers to use mobile phones. Allows for infiltration and surveillance. Messages, camera feed, and microphone.
Phones of at least five close friends of Gandhi and other Congress party officials were also identified as possible targets using spyware, according to a leaked list of potential targets selected by NSO customers. The data was accessed by non-profit journalism organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and shared with the Guardian and other media outlets as part of the Pegasus Project.
Gandhi, who changes his device every few months to avoid surveillance, was not able to provide the phone used at the time of the exam. A successful hacking would have given Modi’s government access to the private data of the prime minister’s primary challenger in the year before the 2019 elections.
“The targeted surveillance of what you describe in relation to me, other leaders of the opposition, or indeed any law-abiding citizen of India, is illegal and reprehensible,” Gandhi said.
“If your information is accurate, the scale and nature of surveillance you describe go beyond an attack on the privacy of individuals. It is an attack on the democratic foundation of our country. It should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible must be identified.” And they should be punished.”
The selection of the opposition leader’s phone as a potential surveillance target in 2019 coincided with the identification of the numbers of two staff members, Sachin Rao and Alankar Sawai, who was then working on upcoming state election campaigns against Modi’s party in Haryana and Maharashtra.
A forensic analysis was conducted on Wednesday by Prashant Kishor, a political strategist working for the party that defeated Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the West Bengal state election earlier this year, established that it had recently been called Pegasus. hacked using.
As claimed by The Guardian and The Washington Post, there are over 40 journalists in the country, three prominent opposition leaders, a constitutional authority, two ministers in the Narendra Modi government, current and former chiefs, and officials of security organizations, and a large number of businessmen. The Government of India justified all these allegations and said that it is an attempt to malign the image of Indian democracy.