Supreme Court silent on Pegasus probe commission set up by Bengal govt: panel member
A two-man commission set up by the Mamata Banerjee government to investigate alleged phone tapping of various persons of West Bengal using Pegasus software is functioning as usual as the Supreme Court did not say anything on the panel in its Wednesday's order, one of its members, Justice (retd) Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, said.
The apex court on Wednesday appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the alleged use of Israeli software Pegasus for surveillance of certain people in India.
"Since the Supreme Court order of Wednesday did not refer to us (the two-man commission) or touch upon us, there is no restraint order on our activities," Justice (retd) Bhattacharya said on Thursday.
The former Calcutta High Court chief justice told PTI that the commission is working as usual as per its mandate.
The other member of the commission is former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) Madan B Lokur.
The commission set up in July had invited statements from the public with regard to the alleged interception of mobile phones of various police officials, politicians, journalists, members of the judiciary and activists in West Bengal.
According to reports, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, a nephew of the West Bengal chief minister, and poll strategist Prashant Kishor were among the potential targets of the spyware during the assembly elections held earlier in the state.
The Justice Lokur and Justice Bhattacharya Commission of Inquiry has been mandated to enquire into whether "any incidences of reported interception have occurred," state and non-state actors who were involved in such reported interception and mechanism used for "such reported interception."
It is also mandated to enquire into "whether any software such as Pegasus of NSO Group Technologies located at Herzliya, Israel, and/or any spyware and/or malware of any other organisation had been in use and/or currently being used to conduct such reported interception."
The commission will also enquire into the legality of any such alleged interception, if found to be true.