Pegasus snooping row: AG declines consent to initiate contempt proceedings against NSO group director for spying on SC judge, staff

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Attorney General of India KK Venugopal (File Photo/ANI)
Attorney General of India KK Venugopal (File Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], October 9 (ANI): The Attorney General of India KK Venugopal has refused to grant consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against the directors of the NSO Group for alleged surveillance of a Supreme Court judge and some officials by using Israeli software Pegasus.

The Attorney General's response came on a letter written by Tamil Nadu MP Dr T Thirumaavalavan who had sought consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against incumbent Secretary of Home Ajay Bhalla, as well as the previous Secretary of Home Rajiv Gauba, for alleged involvement in the Pegasus snooping scandal.

Reportedly, an old mobile number associated with Justice Arun Mishra -- while he still was in office, numbers of two Supreme Court registry officials, and woman staffer who raised the sexual harassment allegations against the former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were included in the list of Pegasus targets.

Venugopal said that the Pegasus software issue was currently sub-judice before the Supreme Court of India.

AG, in his response to Thirumaavalavan, stated, "The question of whether the government of India has used the Pegasus software and if so, against whom is the matter which is being debated and is currently sub-judice before the Supreme Court of India. In the absence of such a determination having been made, it would be inappropriate for me to grant consent for the initiation of proceedings for criminal contempt under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971." (ANI)

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