Pegasus scandal – SC Registrars, old number of judge Arun Mishra, Lawyers of fugitives in latest list
A day before the Supreme Court is set to hear the Pegasus phone tapping case, a new list of phone numbers was out on Wednesday including the old phone number in the name of former Supreme Court Judge Arun Mishra, Registrars of Supreme Court, and lawyers of many of high profile accused numbers. As per the report published by ‘The Wire’ portal, Justice Arun Mishra, who is currently National Human Rights Commission Chairperson said that the number was with him during 2013-2014 and he is not using the number now.
“The presence on the list of a number associated with a sitting judge was mentioned on the day The Wire began running its stories. Having now spoken to him on the record, we can confirm that a Rajasthan mobile number formerly registered in the name of Justice Arun Mishra, who retired from the Supreme Court in September 2020, was added to the database in 2019. A confidential source with access to BSNL records said that the number in question was registered in the name of Justice Mishra from September 18, 2010, to September 19, 2018.
Lawyers of Christian Michel and Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s lawyer’s phone was also figured in the Pegasus tapping list.
“Since the true utility of Pegasus is that it grants the official agency using its access to encrypted communication that ordinary interception does not enable, 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,” said the report published by the portal.
Phone numbers of N K Gandhi and T I Rajput worked in the crucial ‘writ’ section of the Supreme Court’s registry were also figured in the list of targets by the Pegasus Spyware. Two junior court employees, Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma were dismissed from service by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi “for tampering with an order” in contempt of court case against Anil Ambani of the Reliance ADAG group were also in the list.
Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s junior lawyer M Thangathurai’s phone number was also on the list of targets for tapping. Thangathurai and Rohatgi both expressed surprise when informed by The Wire about the number’s inclusion. “Thangathurai, who has worked with Rohatgi for several years, said that his telephone number is listed under his boss’s name in many places such as the bank and elsewhere so that the senior advocate is not disturbed by “routine” calls, OTPs, etc. when he is in court or otherwise busy. Rohatgi confirmed that this is indeed the practice,” said the report.
The number was added in 2019, two years after Rohatgi demitted office as AG. During this period, Rohatgi continued to represent the ‘establishment’ in certain key cases but had also begun taking a position independent of the government on some issues.
Lawyers of Christian Michel and Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s lawyer’s phone was also figured in the Pegasus tapping list. Aljo P Joseph and Vijay Agarwal were the lawyers of these accused persons found in the tapping list.
When the Pegasus Project media consortium wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office prior to publishing its first stories last month, the ministry of electronics and information technology responded by denying it had illegally spied on anyone. “The allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people have no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever,” the ministry said.
 Supreme Court Registrars, Lawyers of Key Clients and Old Number of an SC Judge on Pegasus Radar – Aug 04, 2021, The Wire
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