Bengal govt sets up first panel to investigate Pegasus scandal
New Delhi, July 26: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has set up, a two-member inquiry commission, consisting of retired judges Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice MB Lokur - to probe the Pegasus phone-hacking scandal.
"We thought the Centre would form an inquiry commission or a court-monitored probe would be ordered to look into this phone-hacking incident. But the Centre is sitting idle... So we decided to form a 'commission on inquiry' to look into the matter," Mamata told reporters.
"Names of people from West Bengal have figured on the Pegasus target list. The Centre is trying to snoop on everyone. The commission will find out details about this illegal hacking," the CM added.
It is the first formal inquiry into allegations that between 2017 and 2019 an Indian client of Israel's NSO Group used Pegasus to hack
Reportedly, the mobile number of Abhishek Banerjee, the powerful Trinamool Congress MP who is nephew of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was targeted using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, during the high-profile West Bengal assembly elections.
However, they were not immediately available for forensic investigation, making it impossible to say definitively whether an attempt to hack them was made.
The international media consortium on Sunday reported that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers of over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the Pegasus spyware.