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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor Target of the Pegasus Spyware

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The Pegasus spyware controversy named prominent leaders who were potentially targeted. Indian National Congress member Rahul Gandhi, newly appointed railways, communications, and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa, current Minister of State for Jal Shakti, and Indian political strategist Prashant Kishor. 

The appearance of the report just before the start of the monsoon session has surely sparked a political storm in the country. 

Amnesty International conducted digital forensics on the Indian numbers found in the database as the potential targets and shared with the news website The Wire.

Even the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leader Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee were likely targeted by the Pegasus Spyware. 

The report covered by the news website the wire reports that the names of the people targeted are a part of 1000 Indian numbers, out of which 300 have been verified. The Wire’s Pegasus Project reported that two phone accounts and the numbers of Rahul Gandhi which were used by his aides and friends have been found to be leaked on the database. Attempts were made in 2018 and 2019 to deploy the spyware on Rahul Gandhi’s numbers. 

Ashok Lavasa, former election Commissioner who ruled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi violated the Model Code of Conduct during the campaigning of the 2019 General elections was on the list of suspected targets. 

Newly appointed IT minister Vaishnaw was also under surveillance target in 2017, even his wife’s number was also in the targeted list. 

Minister of State (MoS) for Jal shakti Prahlad Patel was targeted too in the Pegasus scandal, with the presence of at least 15 numbers linked to Patel in the database. 

When Prashant Kishor was working as Mamata’s key strategist before the West Bengal assembly election this year, his phone was potentially targeted.

Also Read: The Pegasus Spyware Controversy Raises the Government’s Role in Cyber-surveillance

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