According to The Wire, phone numbers used by Anil Ambani and one other official of the Reliance ADA Group were added to the leaked list in 2018, when the company was mired in controversy over the Rafale deal.
The name of businessman Anil Ambani features on the Pegasus snoop list, according to The Wire, a digital news portal that is part of the global investigative project looking into the database of numbers that may have been targeted by the spyware.
According to The Wire, phone numbers used by Anil Ambani and one other official of the Reliance ADA Group were added to the leaked list in 2018, when the company was mired in controversy due to the Rafale aircraft deal.
“The Wire can confirm, phone numbers that have been used by Anil Ambani and one other official of the Reliance ADA Group were added to the leaked list that was analysed by media partners of the Pegasus Project consortium,” the report said.
“The mere presence of a number on this list does not imply the smartphone connected to it was successfully snooped upon – a conclusion that can only be established by conducting digital forensics on the device’s data – but the consortium has reason to believe that it represents a person of interest for an unknown client of the NSO Group,” it added.
The report also says that the phone number of the company’s corporate communications chief Tony Jesudasan, along with his wife, appeared on the list.
The digital news portal, however, also said that it could not confirm if Ambani is still using the number which was added to the list in 2018.
“A lack of response from the company also ruled out the ability to ask if they would consent to participate in the Pegasus Project’s digital forensics process,” the report said, adding that no response was received until the time the report was published.
According to the report, the number for Dassault Aviation’s representative in India, Venkata Rao Posina, former Saab India head Inderjit Sial and Boeing India boss Pratyush Kumar also appear in the leaked database at different periods of time in 2018 and 2019.
The number of Harmanjit Negi, head of the French firm energy 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 report said.
Also on the list: Former CBI chief Alok Verma
According to The Wire, former head of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Alok Verma’s phone numbers also figured on the list of potential targets in the Pegasus snooping case.
The number of the former CBI head was added to the list in 2018, at a time when he was involved in an internal tussle with CBI special director Rakesh Asthana.
Along with Verma, numbers of his wife, daughter and son-in-law were also placed on the list, the report claims.
“Also added to the list of numbers at the same time as Verma were two other senior CBI officials, Rakesh Asthana and AK Sharma. Like the erstwhile director, both men were added on to the database about an hour after their former boss,” the report said.
“The numbers of Asthana, Sharma, Verma and his family members figure in the leaked database for a short period. By the second week of February, 2019, by which time Verma had finally retired from government service, this entire cluster of persons ceased being of interest to the government agency which had added them to the list,” it claimed.
At least 300 persons in India and as many as 50,000 worldwide have been identified by the global collaborative investigative project as targets of the surveillance.
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