Pegasus snooped on key coalition players before Congress-JD(S) government collapse in 2019
New Delhi, July 20: Pegasus spyware may have been used to topple the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka two years ago, an international media consortium reported on Tuesday.
According to the Wire, G Parameshwara, close aides of H D Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah, and a policeman attached with former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda were potential targets for surveillance just before the coalition lost power.
However, in the absence of forensic analysis, it cannot be confirmed if their phones were successfully breached, The Wire reported.
"The records indicate that the phone numbers of some of the key political players in Karnataka appear to have been selected around the time when an intense power struggle was taking place between the BJP and the JD(S)-Congress-led state government in 2019 after 17 ruling alliance's legislators abruptly resigned to force a trust vote in the Assembly," the report said.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition government fell in 2019 following a 14-month tenure after it lost a confidence motion moved by the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy by six votes in a House where 20 coalition MLAs remained absent.
The Kumaraswamy-led government received 99 votes in favour and 105 against it. After losing the trust vote, Kumaraswamy resigned, paving the way for the BJP government to take over with B S Yediruppa at the helm.
The crisis had accentuated after rebel coalition MLAs resigned - 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) put in their papers since the beginning of July 2019 till the confidence motion was held later that month - amid allegations raised by the coalition government that the BJP was indulging in horse-trading.