Pegasus row: Snooping may have helped BJP topple Kumaraswamy govt in 2019, claims report

By Online Desk
Before the toppling of the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka two years ago, phone numbers linked to the HD Kumaraswamy regime were possible targets for surveillance, claimed the latest revelations on the Pegasus snooping row published in The Wire.

The report links the fall of the government in July 2019 and the BJP’s takeover to alleged snooping. However, there is no evidence to establish that the phones were hacked.

The phone numbers of the then Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, as well as close aides of the then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah, were possible targets for snooping just before the toppling of the government, according to the report.

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The records indicate that the phone numbers of some key political players in Karnataka appear to have been selected around the time when an intense power struggle was taking place between the BJP and the JD(S)-Congress-led state government after 17 legislators of the ruling alliance abruptly resigned to force a trust vote in the assembly, added the report.

Their phone numbers are part of a leaked database accessed by the non-profit French media Forbidden Stories and shared with an international media consortium, which also includes the Washington Post and the Guardian, as part of what is called The Pegasus Project.

The report said these numbers were spotted in a review of records of numbers that were of interest to an Indian client of Israel’s NSO group, which sells its Pegasus spyware only to governments.