WB sets up panel to probe Pegasus spyware
KOLKATA, July 26: West Bengal has ordered an inquiry into the Pegasus snooping row that has rocked the nation since July 18, becoming the first state to do so, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.
"The Cabinet has approved the appointment of a commission of inquiry comprising former Supreme Court judge, Justice (retd) MB Lokur and retired chief justice of Calcutta high court, Justice (retd) Jyotirmay Bhattacharya in exercise of the power conferred by section 3 of the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 in the matter of widely reported illegal hacking, monitoring, putting under surveillance, tracking, recording etc of mobile phones of various persons in the state of West Bengal," Banerjee said while addressing media at the state secretariat before leaving for Delhi.
The Pegasus row erupted last Sunday before the beginning of the current monsoon session of Parliament after an international investigative consortium reported that India was among the countries that used Israeli company NSO Group's phone hacking software, Pegasus, to potentially target politicians, journalists and activists.
"Over the past one week, we thought the Centre would initiate a probe, monitored by the apex court on which the citizens have faith. But when we saw that the Centre was apathetical, we decided to appoint a commission of inquiry comprising two retired judges. West Bengal is the first state to do this. They would look into how hacking was being done and who were the persons behind it," she said.
"If someone is asleep, he must be awakened. This is a small step. Hopefully this would awaken others. This is has been approved in the cabinet today. We would now request the two retired judged to join and start the inquiry," she added. -HT