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Serial litigant ML Sharma demands SC-monitored SIT probe in his PIL on Pegasus spyware scandal

Supreme Court of India
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

Sharma's PIL flags issues pertaining to the purchase and use of Pegasus spyware; meanwhile, other politicians and journalists are also moving the apex court for a judicial probe.  Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, known as a serial litigant among lawyers and reporters, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL)* in the Supreme Court praying for a Court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) after it came to light that Pegasus had been used to snoop on (or in some cases potentially target) journalists, activists, politicians, businessmen, constitutional functionaries, among others. It has not been confirmed as to who ordered the surveillance but the Pegasus spyware is developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group to be sold only to “vetted governments” and government agencies. A consortium of 17 media organisations gained access to a leaked list of potential targets for Pegasus surveillance consisting of more than 50,000 phone numbers all over the world. However, the presence of a number in the database does not mean that the person's device was successfully targeted.  Why does it matter? Out of the 50,000 phone numbers, The Wire has confirmed the names of 151 Indians who were potential targets for surveillance by clients of the NSO Group. The purported surveillance has been termed as a threat to constitutional democracy, and there have been several calls from various quarters of Indian polity for an independent investigation under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India. The demand was raised after the union government issued no clarification on whether it will conduct an investigation…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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