The list of people named in the Pegasus project is growing day by day and many prominent names from the corporate sector are being revealed. The latest names mentioned in the Pegasus list include some lobbyists associated with the Reliance group. The Wire has revealed the names of 155 people, who were targets or potential targets for surveillance by clients of the NSO group.
As reported by The Wire
, V Balasubramanian, a long-time lobbyist associated with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), AN Sethuraman, a lobbyist associated with the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (ADA) group and Tony Jesudasan, who was corporate communications chief at ADA group, also feature in the Pegasus list.
"His (Mr Jesudasan's) number was added at the same time as (Anil) Ambani’s. A number used by Mr Jesudasan’s wife is also on the list," the report says.
Other businesspersons named in the list are: Venkata Rao Posina, who was India representative of Dassault Aviation, Inderjit Sial, former head of Saab India, Pratyush Kumar, who is president of Boeing India and vice president of Boeing International, and Harmanjit Nagi who heads EDF, a French energy company.
Among the host of names from a cross-section of categories whose phone numbers have appeared on the list, there are also a few businessmen and bureaucrats who have made their way into the alleged surveillance list.
This includes disgraced industry captains like Naresh Goyal, former chief of Jet Airways, to former top officials from public sector units (PSUs) like BC Tripathi, ex-chief at GAIL India.
Apart from Mr Goyal, the most prominent names on the list are numbers used by SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh and the Essar group's Prashant Ruia.
The list also contains multiple businessmen or officials of companies who have had run-ins with the law over the past few years, mostly due to investigations of loan fraud. This includes Vikram Kothari of Rotomac Pens (and his son Rahul), and C Sivasankaran, former promoter of Aircel.
The Wire reported that a phone number used by BC Tripathi—formerly head of the state-run GAIL India, who joined Essar in January 2020 as non-executive chairman—is on the list. Mr Tripathi's selection as a possible candidate for surveillance comes a month after he took up the top post at the natural gas corporation and his number appears in the leaked records on-and-off for almost a year afterwards.
Two numbers, one for a former chief of Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) and the other for a former executive director of the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertiliser Corp also appears on the list.
According to the report, Rajeshwar Singh, a senior officer from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), who led several high-profile investigations conducted by his agency, is also on the Pegasus list. His wife and both his sisters were also potential targets of surveillance.
France-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories had accessed a leaked database of 50,000 numbers who may have been targeted for surveillance by clients of NSO group.
Since the Israeli company says that the advanced spyware is only sold to 'vetted governments', it is safe to assume that these individuals were targets or potential targets of government or military agencies, The Wire says.
Amnesty International, in collaboration with The Wire, was able to forensically examine the phones of 10 Indians, all of which showed signs of either an attempted hack or a successful compromise.