Daily Briefing: In second list of possible Pegasus targets, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Ashwini Vaishnaw among others

Read the latest on further revelations of the Pegasus snooping reports, our series on post-poll violence in West Bengal, Parliament's Monsoon Session and more.

Pegasus Project

The names of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa appeared on a second list of possible targets of an alleged surveillance operation using the Pegasus spyware. 

Incidentally, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s own name popped up in this list just hours after he rejected allegations that the spyware may have been used to snoop on politicians, journalists and others.  Digital news platform The Wire also named his Cabinet colleague Prahlad Singh Patel, an aide of Union minister Smriti Irani, and an associate of former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia. 

Also in the new list of possible targets were the three phone numbers used by the woman who in April 2019 accused the then sitting Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment.

On Pegasus reports, Union Home Minister Amit Shah smelled an international conspiracy to “humiliate India”. “…Aap Chronology Samajhiye! This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers.”  

Only in the Express

In part-3 of The Indian Express series on the post-poll violence in West Bengal, we look into allegations that lists were circulated by TMC workers to socially boycott their political opponents. 

From the Front Page

The Supreme Court ordered the release of Manipuri political activist  Leichombam Erendro, who was detained in May under the National Security Act (NSA), allegedly over his comments on Facebook criticising claims that cow dung and cow urine are effective in preventing or treating Covid-19.

Parliament’s Monsoon Session got off to a stormy start as the Opposition, protesting over several issues including farm laws and fuel price hike, prevented Prime Minister Narendra Modi from introducing his newly inducted Union ministers, a customary practice.

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Fuelling further speculation on B S Yediyurappa’s exit, a senior BJP leader from Karnataka said the party’s central leadership will soon pick a new Chief Minister, someone who is “honest, pro Hindu, and capable of bringing the BJP back to power”.

According to an Oxfam ‘Inequality Report’ on India’s healthcare, states that have reduced inequalities in access to healthcare had fewer confirmed cases of Covid-19. The report marks Kerala as a success story in handling the pandemic.

K Ramachandra Reddy and his wife K Shanti Priya were lawyers practicing at a district court in Madhya Pradesh. But after his wife’s arrest in 2007 for Maoist links, Reddy went underground and rose through the ranks over the years to become the banned outfit’s spokesperson and now its Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee chief.   

And Finally…

Japanese marathon’s late talisman, Tsuburaya, won the bronze at the 1964 Olympics. Four years later he died by suicide, clutching his medal, at an army base. Fifty three years since his death, the nation’s iconic running culture owes much to the tragic hero. 

Delhi confidential: On the first day of the Monsoon session, a long chat between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party MP Preneet Kaur triggered much curiosity among party MPs as well as some in the treasury benches.

 In today’s podcast episode, we discuss what the Pegasus attack investigation reveals, and how the world’s most powerful spyware works.


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