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Pegasus Row: SC To Pronounce Its Verdict On Pleas Seeking Independent Probe Today

A Supreme Court bench had previously said it only wanted to know whether or not the Centre used the Pegasus spyware through illegal methods to allegedly snoop on citizens.

Pegasus Row: SC To Pronounce Its Verdict On Pleas Seeking Independent Probe Today
Pegasus snooping scandal PTI/File Photo

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping matter.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had reserved order on September 13, saying it only wanted to know whether or not the Centre used the Pegasus spyware through illegal methods to allegedly snoop on citizens.

Citing national security, the Centre had refused to file a detailed affidavit in the matter.

The pleas are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus.

What is the Pegasus snooping row? 

Pegasus is a spyware that was developed by an Israeli "cyber weapons" company named NSO Group. The first time it hit the news was in 2016 when several iPhone users were believed to be targeted by the software to hack them. While iPhone claimed to fix the vulnerabilities that allowed Pegasus to infiltrate its users' devices, the spyware was later reported to also hack Android devices.

Earlier this year, an international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India, could have been targeted for hacking through the Pegasus spyware of the Israeli firm NSO. The names of several important persons across India were reportedly on the list including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, TMC's Abhishek Banerjee, Union IT Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw, Ashok Lavasa among others.

However, the government has been denying all Opposition allegations in the matter.

(with PTI inputs)

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