The Pegasus spyware has not even spared the Indian security forces and intelligence agencies.
According to a report in The Wire, serving and retired officers of the security forces and intelligence agencies were included in the list of potential targets of the Pegasus spyware.
In 2018, then chief of the Border Security Force (BSF) – KK Sharma became a potential target of the Pegasus spyware.
Three phone numbers of Sharma were included in the list of potential targets for surveillance in 2018, soon after he attended a meeting of an RSS-affiliated organization.
“The fact that the leaked records include three phone numbers used by him, two of which he still uses after his retirement in 2018, indicate he was very much a person of interest to the Indian client of the NSO Group during the time he was in service as BSF chief,” The Wire reported.
The Wire and 15 other news organisations across the world are part of a collaborative investigation and reporting project spanning weeks.
A BSF commandant posted in Assam was also reportedly a potential target of spyware Pegasus.
“The leaked database also shows that a BSF inspector general of police, Jagdish Maithani, was selected as a potential target for surveillance around the same time as Sharma.”
Former R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer – Jitendra Kumar Ojha also ended up in list of potential Pegasus targets after he had moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in 2018 challenging his premature ‘retirement’.
R&AW is India’s external spy agency. “Ojha was in-charge of training Indian spies at RAW’s academy in Delhi between 2013 and 2015 and had also served in London”
The leaked data also consisted of phone numbers of at least two Indian Army officers – Colonel Mukul Dev and Colonel Amit Kumar, who challenged the Government on on service-related matters.
“The only reason I can think of is that they perhaps did not like the fact that I consistently raised my voice for the welfare of the Indian Army. Under this government, whoever raises genuine concerns is looked at with suspicion,” Colonel Mukul Dev told The Wire.