A woman checks the website of Israel-made Pegasus spyware at an office in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on July 21, 2021.
A woman checks the website of Israel-made Pegasus spyware at an office in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on July 21, 2021.
AFP Photo

Former CBI chief Alok Verma, who was unceremoniously shunted out at midnight in 2018 after inviting government ire on Rafale deal, was added to a list of Pegasus targets for surveillance just hours after the sack, The Wire has alleged.

Not just him, the telephone numbers of his wife, daughter and son-in-law were also added to the surveillance list -- 8 numbers from one family. And, his crime? Possibly, that he did not reject a request for a criminal probe into the controversial Rafale deal, suggests the news portal. Verma’s exit came two days after he ordered the filing of a criminal case against his colleague Rakesh Asthana, then special director, accusing him of corruption. Asthana, known to be close to PM Modi, filed a complaint against Verma with the Central Vigilance Commission two days later.

The phone numbers of industrialist Anil Ambani and a few other top executives from aerospace industry were also found on the alleged list of potential targets of surveillance, "The Wire" has reported. The numbers of Ambani and one other official of the Reliance ADG Group were put on the list as the Rafale deal came under public scrutiny ahead of the 2019 national elections, "The Wire" has reported. At the time, the opposition Congress had accused PM Modi of settling for a grossly overpriced deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets to help Ambani win a whopping offset deal from Rafale maker Dassault.

The phone number for Dassault Aviation's representative in India, Venkata Rao Posina, former Saab India head Inderjit Sial and Boeing India boss Pratyush Kumar were also on the list, "The Wire" reported.

"The number of Harmanjit Nagi, head of the French energy firm EDF, is also in the leaked database, a significant choice given that he was a member of Emmanuel Macron's official delegation during the French president's visit to India during this period," The Wire reported.

Reliance has not responded to requests or answered queries, "The Wire" reported.

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