‘Not as simple as if Pegasus used’, says Govt, offers panel to dispel ‘wrong’ talk

The Centre on Monday “unequivocally” denied all allegations made by the petitioners in the Pegasus matter; however, it told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that “with a view to dispel any wrong narrative spread by certain vested interests and with an object of examining the issues raised”, it would set up “a Committee of Experts in the field which will go in to all aspects of the issue”.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana sought to know if the proposed committee would also be able to look into the questions raised by the petitioners — to this, the Centre said that the court could include it in the terms of reference of the committee.

After the petitioners pointed out that the Centre’s affidavit did not disclose whether it had purchased or used Pegasus, the highly sophisticated spyware developed by the Israeli cyber surveillance company NSO Group, the Bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to tell the court by Tuesday, when it will hear the matter again, if he wanted to file any further affidavit in the matter.

The Bench told the petitioners that the “petitions have nothing to establish that” the alleged “violation is done by the State”.

Several petitioners have moved the court seeking a probe into the findings of a global media investigation, that the spyware may have been used to infiltrate phones used by a wide range of targets including critics of the…

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