Buzz affirms that the congress MP Rahul Gandhi and election strategist Prashant Kishor no less than two union ministers were among those targeted by the Pegasus spyware.
Rahul Gandhi(Congress Leader), Prashant Kishor(political strategist) and two Union ministers were among those aimed by Pegasus, a spyware developed by Israeli firm NSO group, reports claim.The Wire said among the names was Prashant Kishor, who played a big role in the BJP’s 2014 campaign that saw PM Modi come to power for the first time, has since had a galaxy of political clients, mostly opposed to the BJP.
At least two mobile phone numbers used by Rahul Gandhi feature in the list of potential targets by an official Indian client of the Israeli surveillance technology vendor, NSO Group.
According to the report, phone numbers of five of Rahul Gandhi’s friends and familiarities were also placed on the list of potential targets. None of the five plays any role in politics or public affairs: Report claims.
Responding to the reports, Indian Youth Congress president Srinivas BV said Rahul Gandhi was the potential Pegasus target in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Among others whose phone numbers feature on the list of potential targets are Prashant Kishor and Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee. Prashant Kishor and Abhishek Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, were instrumental in the Trinamool Congress party’s victory in the recently held assembly polls in the state.
Their close aides’ mobile phones were also reportedly hacked using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The reports claim digital forensic analysis conducted by the Amnesty International pointed to this technological security breach.
However, the same report also said it was not yet confirmed whether their mobile phone accounts were actually compromised as their phones were not immediately available for forensic examination.
Besides them, phone numbers of at least two Union ministers also feature on the list of potential targets. They are Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Patel. Ashwini Vaishnaw was recently inducted in the Council of Ministers as the minister of communications, electronics and information technology, and railways. Prahlad Patel was recently given the portfolio of Jal Shakti as a minister of state.
Among others, reportedly on the list of potential targets, were the personal secretary to senior BJP leader Vasundhara Raje Scindia, when she was the Rajasthan chief minister, and Sanjay Kachroo, who worked as an OSD for Smriti Irani in her first term as the Union minister in the Narendra Modi government from 2014-2015.
Ashok Lavasa’s(Former Election Commissioner ) number that he used in 2019 also featured on the potential target list. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia’s number also figures in the database,according to the informaion.
By a client of the NSO group, these numbers featured on the list of potential targets for surveillance during 2017-2019: Report claims