Daily Briefing: Over 300 Indian numbers including 2 ministers, 3 Opp leaders targeted by Israeli spyware

Read the global collaborative investigative report on the targeted surveillance by Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, our series on post-poll violence in West Bengal, Express Idea Exchange with Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and more.

The Big Story

Over 300 mobile phone numbers in India including that of two serving Ministers in the Narendra Modi government, three Opposition leaders, one constitutional authority, several journalists and business persons were could have been targeted using Pegasus, a spyware developed by Israeli company NSO Group.

In 2019, The Indian Express reported that WhatsApp had confirmed the use of Pegasus to target individuals in India. The latest report by The Wire exploiting vulnerabilities in other vectors such as SMS and iPhone’s iMessage service.

Three editors of the The Indian Express — two current and one former — are among the over 40 journalists whose phone numbers figure in the leaked list of potential targets of surveillance using the Pegasus spyware. 

Only in the Express

In part-3 of The Indian Express series on post-poll violence in West Bengal, we speak to eight of the 40 families who say they are still on the run after their houses were ransacked allegedly by TMC supporters. 

In this edition of the Idea Exchange, Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra talks about battling depression post Olympics, believes that if communities take up sports, medals will follow, calls for better governance in day-to-day sports affairs, and says he was saddened by the allegations against Olympian Sushil Kumar. 

From the Front Page

The Punjab Congress got a new chief last night. Former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was elevated to the position after a bitter face-off with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. In the end, Amarinder did not get the public apology he demanded from Sidhu nor could he get members from his camp appointed as working presidents.

There will be no lockdown restrictions in Kerala for three days this month. Despite the high Covid-19 cases, the state government has yielded to pressure from religious groups to lift all restrictions for celebration of Bakrid. 

At a time when the government is looking to regulate cryptocurrencies, a cryptocurrency bank is set to launch operations in the country. To get around RBI permissions, it registered itself as a credit co-operative. 

Must read

After study across five states by the Azim Premji Foundation showed alarming regression in learning among school students over the year of the pandemic and school shutdowns, the Madhya Pradesh government is set to roll out a bridge course to make up the gap.

In Gujarat, mass promotion of Class 10 students by the state education board has thrown up a new challenge. There is a shortage of over 3,000 classrooms.

And Finally…

What happens in the last instant before instinctual action kicks in can determine the difference between an Olympic medal and a loss. Olympians across sports enlighten us on how their eyes and brain guide their gut.

Delhi confidential: A combative tone appears to have already been set for the Monsoon Session of Parliament. At Sunday’s all-party meeting, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked the government why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not present at the meeting, which was called by the government, right from the beginning.

In this podcast episode, we talk about the country’s newly appointed IT and Railways minister. We also discuss the high Covid cases in Kerala, along with the details of the new chief of Punjab Congress.

 

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