Nihal Singh Rathod, who has represented Bhima Koregaon accused Surendra Gadding, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Ramesh Raichor, and Sagar Gorkhe offered in his letter to appear before the committee and submit his phone for probe.
“I have many reasons to believe that my mobile phone was hacked using Pegasus, by infiltrating WhatsApp application,” the letter stated.
He claimed that WhatsApp itself informed him via message that his phone was compromised by use if a spyware.
“I was officially informed by M/s Whatsapp that my phone was compromised by use of spyware. Same was communicated to me through a whatsapp message sent by whatsapp itself,” he said in the letter.
I have retained said intimation on my phone records, he added.
“In such circumstances, should you think that examining my original device could be useful, I would be willing to offer the same for your examination as communicated in the public notice,” he said.
The letter was in response to a public notice issued by the committee seeking details from citizens who have a reasonable cause to suspect that their devices were compromised by the Pegasus spyware.
It urged citizens to contact it with reasons as to why they believe their devices may have been infected by the Pegasus malware, and whether they would be in a position to allow the committee to examine their device.
The letter by Rathod proceeded to outline the process of how he discovered that his phone was hacked and compromised.
Rathod had been receiving WhatsApp video calls from a number that could not be picked, which upon being blocked would be repeated by different international numbers.
After a formal complaint to WhatsApp, the calls receded. He received word that fellow advocates also faced a similar issue, including another lawyers involved in a Bhima Koregaon case.
Over the course of the next few months, he and the other advocates were contacted by Canada-based Citizen Lab informing them of the presence of Pegasus on their phone, which is now on public domain after reports in the media.
He added that there are reasons to believe that Indian agencies also used Netwire software, given the suspicious mails he and other activists received.
He, therefore, offered to appear before the committee and produce his device.
Further, he suggested that the committee should make its proceedings public and allow him to cross-examine the agencies involved.
Besides Rathod, four accused in the Bhima Koregaon case have also written to the committee claiming their devices were compromised, Leaflet reported.