Since the Pegasus exposé, parliamentary proceedings have been disrupted and demands for an independent judicial investigation into the Pegasus controversy have only increased. The West Bengal government constituted a judicial panel headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur to probe the Pegasus spyware issue which has allegedly targeted various politicians, journalists, and members of civil society. This comes after a report by The Wire said that the mobile phone of election strategist Prashant Kishor, who was key to the Trinamool Congress' win in the state elections this year, was hacked. The report also said that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee's phone number was "selected as a potential snoop target". Why it matters: It was this report of a "confirmed" spyware attack against Kishor which first indicated that there could be a political motive behind the alleged surveillance perpetrated using Israel-based NSO Group's Pegasus spyware. Prior to this, The Wire's reports had named Congress politician Rahul Gandhi, a former Election Commission member, and several journalists as potential targets for surveillance using the spyware. The BJP-led central government has been under the scanner because the NSO Group had earlier stated that they sell their products only to vetted governments and government agencies. Many members of the Opposition have urged the government to initiate a probe into the matter. In a brief press conference, Banerjee said, "In the exercise of the power conferred under the Sec 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 in the matter of widely reported…
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