Leaked data has revealed a surveillance net in the Elgar Parishad case might have crossed a line, a report in The Wire said. The families of activists figure on a leaked list of numbers that included some selected for surveillance by a client of Israel’s NSO Group.
A review of the leaked database by The Wire and partner news organisations shows that at least nine numbers belonged to eight activists, lawyers and academics arrested between June 2018 and October 2020 for their supposed role in the Elgar Parishad case.
Others who are on the list, besides Wilson and Hany Babu, from the Elgar Parishad case include rights activist Vernon Gonsalves; academic and civil liberties activist Anand Teltumbde; retired professor Shoma Sen (her number is first selected in 2017); journalist and rights activist Gautam Navlakha; lawyer Arun Ferreira; and academic and activist Sudha Bharadwaj.
Sixteen activists, lawyers and academics from across India have been arrested in the case since 2018. The France-based media non-profit, Forbidden Stories, and Amnesty International's Security Lab had access to these records, which they shared with The Wire and 15 other news organisations worldwide as part of a collaborative investigation and reporting project.
The Wire has verified the numbers and identities of those using them. Most were interrogated by the Pune police and later by the NIA between 2018 and 2020.
The leaked records also include the numbers of Telugu poet and writer Varavara Rao's daughter Pavana; lawyer Surendra Gadling's wife Minal Gadling, his associate lawyers Nihalsingh Rathod and Jagadish Meshram, one of his former clients Maruti Kurwatkar, who was charged in multiple cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), incarcerated for over 4 years and later released on bail; Bharadwaj's lawyer Shalini Gera; Teltumbde's friend Jaison Cooper, a Kerala-based rights activist; scholar of the Naxalite movement and Bastar-based lawyer Bela Bhatia; one of the oldest members of the Kabir Kala Manch cultural group Rupali Jadhav; and tribal rights activist Mahesh Raut's close associate and lawyer Lalsu Nagoti. The list includes as many as 5 family members of an Elgar Parishad accused. It is unclear if the attacker had managed to gain access to their phones. The Wire said the addition of numbers began mid-2018 and continued for months.
MANIC MONDAY OVER MALWARE
Along with political opponents, now journalists, judges, industrialists, your own senior most ministers and even the leadership of the RSS have not been spared,” he posted in Hindi, calling the government a “jasoos sarkar (a spy govt)”. —Randeep Surjewala, Cong leader
Arnab is upset that #pegasus reports don't use 'definitive' language. 'Why use alleged?' Because Republic's journalism is all about definitive things like SSR murder...
—Manisha Pande, Newslaundry executive editor
BJP + RSS + EC + CBI + IT + ED + JUDICIARY + MEDIA + ELECTORAL BONDS + PEGASUS. This is the MAHAGATHBANDHAN that the Opposition is up against. —Srivatsa, Congressman
In Hungary, opposition calling #pegasus snooping as country's Watergate Scandal, demanding PM Orban to brought before the National Security Committee, & asking people to protest on the streets. In the world's largest democracy, even the media don't cover the pegasus scandal! —Ashok Swain,
Professor of Peace and Conflict Research
12/01/2018- Gogoi in PC, spoke about Loya case
3/10/2018- Becomes CJI
April 2019- Staff complained about sexual assault
Pegasus starts tapping staff’s phone
9/11/2019- Ayodhya Judgement
14/11/2019- Rafale Clean Chit. On 17th he retires. RS seat follows. —Dilip Mandal, Centre For Brahmin Studies