The committee appointed to look into the Pegasus spyware scandal — where politicians, journalists, judges and government officials were said to have been targeted — has sought more time to complete its investigation. Sources said the interim report has been submitted in the Supreme Court by the committee. The top court is likely to consider the report of the panel, headed by Justice (Retd) Raveendran, on February 23, sources said.
The top court had appointed the committee in October last year, saying the state will “not get a free pass” every time national security is raised and the court will not remain a “mute spectator”.
So far, at least 13 people — including journalists N Ram, Siddharth Varadarajan and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta — have deposed before the committee. Sources said the panel has also received around a dozen cellphones for forensic examination, including those belonging to the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
The Pegasus row erupted last year as a global news consortium reported that the spyware was used by several nations to target activists, journalists and many others in the civil society.
In India, news portal “The Wire” claimed that more than 142 people were targeted.
The alleged list included Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, an ex-Election Commissioner, two registrars of the Supreme Court, an old number of a former judge, a close aide of a former Attorney General and 40 journalists.
The government, however, dismissed the allegations saying there was no illegal interception.
In October, responding to a clutch of petitions, the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a three-member expert committee.