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Mamata Govt Forms Inquiry Panel to Look into Pegasus Snooping Row

The decision to form a panel, with retired judges as its members, was taken at a special cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister during the day.

The decision to form a panel, with retired judges as its members, was taken at a special cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister during the day.

The decision to form a panel, with retired judges as its members, was taken at a special cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister during the day.

In a significant move, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her government has formed a two-member inquiry commission to look into allegations of snooping on politicians, officials and journalists using Israeli spyware Pegasus.

The decision to form a panel, with retired judges as its members, was taken at a special cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister during the day.

"We thought the Centre would form an inquiry commission or a court-monitored probe would be ordered to look into this phone-hacking incident. But the Centre is sitting idle… So we decided to form a commission on inquiry' to look into the matter," she said at a press conference here.

The two-member commission will be headed by former Calcutta High court Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya. Former Supreme Court judge Madan Bhimrao Lokur is its other member.

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Lokur is presently a judge of the non-resident panel of the Supreme Court of Fiji – a first Indian judge to become the head of a judiciary of a foreign country.

"Names of people from West Bengal have figured on the Pegasus target list. The Centre is trying to snoop on everyone. The commission will find out details about this illegal hacking," the CM added.

Banerjee will leave for Delhi on Monday to have a series of meetings with the opposition leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Her meeting with PM Modi is scheduled on Tuesday.

A massive political row erupted in the country and other parts of the globe after media reports claimed that the Pegasus spyware was used to infiltrate phones and conduct surveillance on political leaders, government officials and journalists.

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first published:July 26, 2021, 14:13 IST