On Friday, a Nagpur-based lawyer wrote to the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Committee investigating the Pegasus spyware scandal, claiming that he has reason to believe his phone was hacked and compromised by the spyware.

In his letter, Nihal Singh Rathod, who has represented Bhima Koregaon accused Surendra Gadding, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Ramesh Raichor, and Sagar Gorkhe, offered to appear before the committee and submit his phone for investigation.

“I have many reasons to believe that my mobile phone was hacked using Pegasus, by infiltrating the WhatsApp application,” the letter stated.

He claimed that WhatsApp notified him via message that his phone had been compromised due to the use of spyware.

“M/s Whatsapp officially informed me that my phone had been compromised due to the use of spyware. The same thing was communicated to me via a Whatsapp message sent by Whatsapp itself “In the letter, he stated.

He further added, “I’ve kept that intimation on my phone records.”

“In such circumstances, if you believe that examining my original device may be beneficial, I would be willing to offer the same for your examination as communicated in the public notice,” he said.

The letter was written in response to a public notice issued by the committee asking for information from citizens who have a reasonable suspicion that their devices have been compromised by the Pegasus spyware.

It urged citizens to contact it with their reasons for believing their devices were infected with the Pegasus malware, as well as whether they would be willing to allow the committee to examine their device. Rathod’s letter went on to describe how he discovered his phone had been hacked and compromised.

Rathod had been receiving WhatsApp video calls from an untraceable number that, once blocked, would be repeated by different international numbers.

The calls stopped after I filed a formal complaint with WhatsApp. He learned that other lawyers, including one involved in the Bhima Koregaon case, were having a similar problem.

Over the next few months, he and the other advocates were contacted by Citizen Lab in Canada, who informed them of the presence of Pegasus on their phone, which is now public domain due to media reports.

He went on to say that there are reasons to believe that Indian agencies used Netwire software as well, based on the suspicious emails he and other activists received.

As a result, he offered to appear before the committee and demonstrate his device.

Furthermore, he suggested that the committee’s proceedings be made public and that he be allowed to cross-examine the agencies involved.

In addition to Rathod, four other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case have written to the committee, claiming that their devices were compromised, according to Leaflet.

On October 27, last year, the Supreme Court directed an independent three-member expert and technical committee to investigate the Pegasus surveillance scandal. While passing probe orders, the three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli chastised the Central government for using national security to defend its case, stating that it could not be used as an omnibus argument to gain a free pass every time the Court exercised judicial review.

Following that, on December 18, the Supreme Court stayed the operation of the two-member commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Madan B Lokur, that had been formed by the West Bengal government to investigate the Pegasus surveillance scandal.


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