Two Supreme Court registrars, old number of SC judge in latest list of potential targets of Pegasus spyware

The name of Justice Arun Mishra, who retired last year from the Supreme Court, was added in 2019, a report by news portal The Wire said

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NH Web Desk

The phone numbers of two registrars of the Supreme Court -- NK Gandhi and TI Rajput -- an old number of a former SC judge and a close aide of a former Attorney General were on the list of potential targets for surveillance by Israeli spyware Pegasus, news portal The Wire said in its latest report on the issue.

The names of the two court officials were added in early 2019, it said.

"Both worked in the crucial 'writ' section of the Supreme Court's registry when their numbers were added. More than 1,000 writ petitions are filed directly in the apex court in any given year, and these are of direct concern to the Union government. Some of them are considered politically sensitive," The Wire said.

The name of Justice Arun Mishra, who retired last year from the Supreme Court, was added in 2019, the report said.

While Justice Mishra said he stopped using the phone in 2014, the number was registered in his name till 2018, The Wire reported.

The Wire had earlier hinted at the presence of a number associated with a Supreme Court judge on the Pegasus list.

After speaking to Justice Mishra, the publication confirmed that a Rajasthan mobile number formerly registered in his name, was added to the list.

The Wire, as part of its verification process, asked the retired judge if he had continued to use WhatsApp or other messaging apps on his phone even after giving up the number.

“The number +9194XXXXXXX is not with me since 2013-2014. I don’t use this number,” he replied.

Justice Mishra, who is now Chairman of NHRC , subsequently clarified that he had surrendered the number on April 21, 2014. At the time, he was Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. He had served as Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court from 2010 to 2012.

Another number on the list belonged to M Thangathurai, a junior lawyer working in the chambers of Mukul Rohatgi.

The number was added in 2019 -- two years after Rohatgi left office as the Attorney General.

In this period, he continued to represent the "establishment" in certain key cases "but had also begun taking a position independent of the government on some issues," The Wire said.

It also named advocates Aljo Joseph and Vjiay Aggarwal, who represented AgustaWestland accused Christian Michel and PNB scam accused Nirav Modi respectively as being on the list.

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    Published: 04 Aug 2021, 8:36 PM