Shri A K Bhalla
Union Home Secretary
Dear Shri Bhalla,
I have requested you time and again to get the whole matter concerning the use of Pegasus spyware in several States in India properly investigated. My last letter was sent to you on 22-7-2021 (https://countercurrents.org/2021/07/pegasus-spyware-need-for-thorough-investigation/)
As I have pointed out, several States in India (AP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra etc.) had apparently purchased the Pegasus package from Israel. Some States had deputed their officers to Israel, while representatives of the NSO, the Israeli spyware company, had also visited those States.
This position stands further corroborated by the latest disclosure coming from the West Bengal government (https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mamata-says-bengal-was-offered-controversial-pegasus-spyware-for-just-rs-25-crore-4-5-years-ago-7824925/) that the NSO representatives had contacted them 4-5 years ago, marketing the Pegasus spyware, which the State government did not accept.
It would not have been possible for the State governments to depute their officers to visit Israel and purchase the equipment without the Central government’s approval, nor would it have been possible for the NSO officials to visit the States without the concerned Central departments knowing about their visits. Continuing silence on this on the part of the Centre raises more questions than clarifying the position.
In several countries, legal action has been initiated against the NSO and those responsible for misusing the spyware. I am surprised that the Central government, instead of ordering a thorough investigation, has chosen to remain in a denial mode. Even assuming that the Centre was unaware of the use of Pegasus, it cannot ignore the possibility of some other agency in India or even a foreign agency misusing it and hurting the national interest. On that ground at least, one would expect the Centre to commission an investigation.
I am not sure about the position taken by the Centre in this matter in connection with the ongoing proceedings before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. I hope that the concerned departments of the Centre have placed all the facts accurately before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
In several countries, when allegations of the misuse of Pegasus surfaced, the concerned governments ordered investigations. Some countries have even filed cases against the Pegasus suppliers. On the other hand, India has so far failed to act.
I once again request you to order a thorough investigation and place all the facts before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to Government of India