‘Many former security officers on Pegasus list’
Unnamed official each from PMO & Niti Aayog
The latest ‘revelation’ about the Pegasus project claims that many contrarians as well as establishment men in the national security apparatus may have been targeted for surveillance. They include two Army officers who had filed cases in courts against the government.
A RAW officer marked for probable surveillance, along with his wife, was Jitendra Kumar Ojha who took premature retirement under controversial circumstances following run-ins with present RAW chief Samant Goel and has filed a case in the court.
He has been quoted as saying the attempted hacking was “brazenly criminal”, particularly his wife’s phone, to “bring psychological pressure on me, while I fight my case”.
The two Indian Army officers may have been of interest after they took on the government on service-related matters.
Col. Mukul Dev filed a case against the order to scrap free rations for officers who are posted in peace areas. “They perhaps did not like the fact that I consistently raised my voice for the welfare of the Indian Army,” he has been quoted as saying.
Colonel Amit Kumar had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of 356 Army personnel against dilution of the Armed Forces (Special Forces) Act (AFSPA). Kumar was quoted as saying, “What will they get from my phone? My phone is filled with patriotism. There is nothing else of interest.”
Another case involves former Border Security Force (BSF) chief KK Sharma. The media consortium claims that his telephone number was among the list containing several hundred numbers from India marked as probable targets for surveillance.
Sharma attended a conference by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate in uniform as BSF chief. It was around that time that Sharma’s three phone numbers were of interest. After retirement, he was named special central police observer for Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and Jharkhand.
However, he was removed after two days as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee protested his appointment.
Another BSF officer who was a person of interest was IG Jagdish Maithani, entrusted with the work of smart fencing on the Indo-Bangla border.
Rajeshwar Singh, a senior Enforcement Directorate officer who led several high-profile investigations, too was a probable target for surveillance as was VK Jain, a former IAS officer who worked as a personal assistant to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.