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Pegasus News: SC to set up probe panel, formal order next week | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it is setting up a technical expert committee to inquire the snooping row using the Pegasus software.
CJI N V Ramana said some technical experts are expressing personal difficulty to decline being part of the team.
“That is why it is taking time to constitute the technical expert committee,” the CJI said.
The apex court said it will pass an order next week on pleas seeking independent probe into the snooping matter.
“We will be able to finalise the members of technical expert team by next week and pronounce orders,” CJI added.
The Centre had offered to set up a technical expert committee comprising independent experts to inquire whether Pegasus was used to snoop on phones.

Last week, the Supreme Court said it only wants to know from the Centre whether Pegasus was used to allegedly spy on individuals and if it was done lawfully after the latter expressed its unwillingness to file a detailed affidavit citing national security on pleas seeking an independent probe into the snooping row.

The pleas for an independent probe followed reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.
An international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware.
Appointing a committee or making an inquiry is not the question here, the court said, adding that if an affidavit is filed then it would come to know the stand of the Centre.
Appearing before the top court, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta said that whether a “particular software was used or not is not a matter for public domain”. He said the matter can be inquired into by a committee of independent domain experts and it can be filed before apex court.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two Union ministers — Prahlad Singh Patel and Railways and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw — businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, and at least 40 journalists are on the list on the leaked database of NSO. It is, however, not established that all the phones were hacked.

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