Advocate Nihalsing B Rathod, who represented several people implicated in the Elgar Parishad case, has reached out to the Supreme Court-appointed committee to investigate allegations of his phone being spied upon through the Pegasus malware.
The Nagpur-based lawyer suspects that his mobile device was being secretly surveilled for information regarding the legal strategies in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad proceedings, and intercepted to gain access to the correspondence between him and his clients, LiveLaw reported.
People accused in the aforementioned case, who were represented by Rathod, include Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Ramesh Gaichor, and Sagar Gorkhe.
In light of this, the advocate has sought to appear before the SC-appointed panel and cross-examine the agencies which might be summoned for the probe. Further, the lawyer has asked for the proceedings of the case to be made public.
Rathod has reportedly sought probing and disclosure of the following information:
If any central or state government agency or any organisations considered agencies of the State as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution procured Pegasus spyware?
If yes, which sources purchased the spyware, what was the amount paid for it, and which budget head debited it in the records of the acquiring agency?
Who authorised the use of this spyware against lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, and politicians?
The personal information, data and records accessed by the operators of Pegasus.
The legal framework allowing the use of the spyware against him.
Basis for the Complaint
Presenting evidence for the belief that his device was under surveillance through WhatsApp, Rathod indicated that he:
received repeated video calls from several foreign numbers – this had happened with the others who were implicated
media houses had approached him and his colleagues over the matter when the Pegasus story broke
WhatsApp officially informed Rathod of a possible security breach on his mobile device
A person affiliated with Canada-based Citizen Lab communicated to him that his phone may be a target of Pegasus.
Recently, the Technical Committee – constituted by the Supreme Court and headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran – investigating Pegasus allegations had sent out a public notice urging people suspecting that their devices were spied upon to provide their details by 7 January.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)