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Pegasus Project | Phones linked to top Congress-JDS leaders in Karnataka were ‘potential targets’ in 2019, says report

The phone numbers linked to top Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders in Karnataka were likely targeted with Pegasus spyware in July 2019, shortly before the HD Kumaraswamy-led government was toppled, a report said on July 20.

The phone numbers which were allegedly targeted include those of G Parameshwara, the then deputy chief minister of Karnataka, and personal secretaries of then Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy and former state CM Siddaramaiah, The Wire reported.

The numbers were part of the leaked database which was accessed by French media non-profit Forbidden Stories, and later shared with an international consortium of media organisations including The Wire.

Notably, the Congress-JDS coalition government was pulled down in Karnataka in July 2019, after 17 legislators belonging to the two parties jumped ship to the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

t from The Wire.

Vaishnaw, in his address to the Lok Sabha on July 19 shortly before his name propped up in the Pegasus-related leaks, said the media reports are sensationalist and lack substance. Illegal surveillance is not possible in India, he told the lawmakers.

“When we look at this issue through the prism of logic, it clearly emerges that there is no substance, whatsoever, behind this sensationalism,” he said.”Any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions. In India, there is a well-established procedure through which lawful interception of electronic communication is carried out for purpose of national security,” the minister added.

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