Mamata Banerjee reveals Israeli spyware firm NSO Group approached Bengal Police to sell Pegasus 4-5 years ago

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 17 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said Israeli cyber intelligence firm NSO Group had approached the state police four-five years ago to sell its spyware ‘Pegasus’.

“The NSO Group had come to our police department 4-5 years ago to sell their machine (Pegasus spyware) and demanded Rs 25 crore. I turned it down as it could have been used politically, against judges and officials, which is not acceptable,” said Banerjee.

It may be mentioned that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive member from West Bengal Anirban Ganguly last month had alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been using Pegasus since she came to power in 2016.

In July 2021, names of several opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance allegedly using Pegasus spyware, according to a news report.

Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had responded to the opposition allegations in Parliament and said “there is no substance behind the sensationalism”.

The matter is subjudice in Supreme Court. The top court had earlier set up a technical expert committee to look into the allegations of snooping against the Centre. (ANI)

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