The mobile phone numbers of Anil Ambani and Dassault Aviation’s representative in India Venkata Rao Posina are among those listed as potential targets of surveillance using the Pegasus spyware sold by Israeli company NSO Group, The Wire reported on Thursday.
According to the report, their numbers were listed during the time when the Rafale controversy was in full swing. "A legal challenge was mounted before the Supreme Court. Media publications, both Indian and French, started asking serious questions about Dassault Aviation’s offset partners in India. And even former French President Francois Hollande’s remarks on how one particular corporate partner was chosen stirred up a storm," said the report.
Along with Ambani, the mobile phone numbers of Reliance ADA Group's corporate communications chief Tony Jesudasan and his wife are also a part of the leaked list that was analysed by media partners of the Pegasus Project consortium, reported The Wire.
It has to be noted that a mere presence of a number on the list does not mean that the smartphone was successfully snooped upon using the military-grade Pegasus spyware. It could only be concluded after conducting digital forensics on the device’s data.
Earlier in the day, The Wire reported that top ring of advisers around the Dalai Lama and several leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) are also among those listed as potential targets of Israeli spyware Pegasus.
For the unversed, the reports have been published by The Wire in collaboration with 16 other international publications including the Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde, as media partners to an investigation conducted by Paris-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories and rights group Amnesty International.
The investigation focuses on a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers from across the world that are believed to have been the target of surveillance through Pegasus software of Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.
(With PTI inputs)