Highlights

  • New York Times report says India bought Pegasus spyware in 2017
  • In 2021, a report had claimed many Indians were potential Pegasus targets
  • Supreme Court had set up expert panel to look into allegations

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'India bought Pegasus spyware in 2017': NYT report causes fresh storm

The NYT report also mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel in July 2017 - the first by any Indian PM.

Reigniting the Pegasus phone hacking and snooping controversy, a report in the New York Times has claimed that India bought the Israeli spyware in 2017.

The report alleged that the spyware and a missile system were centrepieces of a deal worth US $ 2 billion finalised in 2017 between Delhi and Tel Aviv. The NYT report also mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel in July 2017 - the first by any Indian PM.

ALSO WATCH | Pegasus row: Poland's most powerful leader admits buying Israeli surveillance software

Pegasus was developed by Israeli company NSO which has reportedly said that the program is only sold to government agencies after vetting by Israeli authorities.

A huge controversy broke out last year, after an international investigative consortium claimed that as many as 50,000 phones were potentially targeted via the spyware. Many Indian politicians, activists, journalists, and businessmen were also reportedly named in the document.

After the Opposition raised the issue in Parliament, the Electronics and Information Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had made a statement. He had said that there was no substance behind the claims, and that the report was full of inconsistencies.

Subsequently, the matter reached the Supreme Court which set up an expert committee to probe the allegations.

The latest report has led to the Opposition Congress party again targeting the Modi government. Rahul Gandhi accused the government of treason, claiming that Pegasus was bought to spy on democratic institutions, politicians, and the public.

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