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Six Senior Officials of Seed Giant Monsato Potential Pegasus Targets: Report

The senior officials included researchers and scientists working with the two companies.

Updated
India
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Phone numbers of six senior officials from seed giant Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Lt and Monsanto India were selected as possible targets for Pegasus surveillance, <a href="https://thewire.in/government/monsanto-officials-were-on-snoop-list-as-maharashtra-probed-bt-cotton-seed-distribution">The Wire</a> reported.</p></div>
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Phone numbers of six senior officials from seed giant Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Lt and Monsanto India were selected as possible targets for Pegasus surveillance, The Wire reported.

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech is a joint venture between Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd and Monsanto Investment India Pvt Ltd. Monsanto sells its patented and Bollgard II Bt cotton seed technologies to seed companies which then sell Bt seeds to farmers.

In 2018, the BJP government in Maharashtra had set up an SIT to investigate into the role of these companies that were suspected of selling unapproved Bt cotton seeds with a Herbicide Tolerant (HT) transgenic gene in certain cotton-growing districts of Maharashtra, and parts of Gujarat, Telangana and Karnataka.

In October 2017, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had also set up the Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC), under the Department of Biotechnology, to probe the proliferation of unlawful seeds.

The Wire reported that during the course of the parallel probes in 2018, the phone numbers of six senior officials from Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Lt and Monsanto India were selected as possible candidates for surveillance.

The Wire reported that during the course of the parallel probes in 2018, the phone numbers of six senior officials from Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Lt and Monsanto India were selected as possible candidates for surveillance.

The senior officials included researchers and scientists working with the two companies.

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In a series of reports, The Pegasus Project — a collaborative journalistic investigation has revealed that at least 300 verified Indian phone numbers belonging to journalists, activists, opposition leaders, serving Union Ministers and a sitting judge were potential targets of the Pegasus spyware which is sold by the Israeli NSO group.

The astounding revelations around ‘Pegasus Snoopgate’ has kicked up a storm in India, with many accusing the BJP-led Centre of illegally spying on citizen.

While the Central government hasn’t given clarity on whether or not it has purchased the spyware, it is raising concerns on the state of surveillance in the country.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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