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Phone Numbers of Anil Ambani, Dassault, Boeing Officials on Pegasus List: Report

The numbers of Anil Ambani and the key troubleshooter of Reliance Tony Jesudasan were part of the leaked database.

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Tech and Auto
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Anil Ambani.</p></div>
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A few more names of consequence have now been added to the rapidly snowballing list of potential targets of the Pegasus spyware. According to a report by The Wire, the phone numbers of Reliance Group chairperson Anil Ambani, and the key troubleshooter of the telecommunications conglomerate, Tony Jesudasan, were part of the leaked database of the Israel-based spyware.

Reports published by news organisations across the world on Sunday, 18 July, revealed that Israel-made spyware Pegasus was believed to have been used to snoop on at least 300 Indian phone numbers, including those of several journalists, politicians, government officials and rights activists.

According to The Wire, the names of the Reliance Group officials appeared in the list in 2018, when the company was embroiled in a political controversy over its Rafale jet deal partnership with the fighter aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. The phone number of Jesudasan's wife was also found on the list.

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Reports at the time had suggested that the Union government had recommended the Ambani-owned firm over the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the deal.

The numbers of Dassault Aviation’s representative in India, Venkata Rao Posina, former Saab India head Inderjit Sial, and Boeing India chief Pratyush Kumar, too, figure in the leaked database, The Wire reported.

Harmanjit Negi, the head of French energy company EDF, who had been a part of the French president's entourage while on his visit to India during the period of the contention, also finds mention in the list.

The Pegasus Snoopgate

The report comes as part of a series that has revealed the possibility of snooping operations against several 'potential' targets, including high-profile journalists, political leaders and ministers.

Multiple reports, published since 18 July, have revealed the names of Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor, Ashok Lavasa, and Union ministers Prahlad Patel and Ashwini Vaishnaw, among those on the leaked list.

The alleged snooping attempts were reportedly carried out using spyware Pegasus, a product of Israeli cyberweapons company NSO Group.

However, the the presence of the numbers in the 'Pegasus Project' does not confirm that the device was actually 'infected with Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack,' The Wire said.

The Indian government, on its part, has denied any role in the snooping operations, slamming the reports.

(With inputs from The Wire)

(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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