PIL links Israel study tour to Pegasus spyware

The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued notices in a plea by activists alleging that a delegation of selected senior officials of the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) were sent to Israel to study advanced web media, breaching mandatory conditions.

A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Laxman Bura and Digambar Gentyal alleges that the tour was undertaken to acquire the spying software Pegasus. The PIL sought issuance of directions to the DGIPR for taking action against the delegates who went on the Israel study tour conducted between November 15, 2019 to November 25, 2019; the officials of the DGIPR involved in the process of sanctioning the proposal for the tour; and the delegates who came to be selected for it.

The PIL mentions, “On September 5, 2019 the Consulate General of Israel, Mumbai invited officers of DGIPR for the purpose of enhancing public relations and use of advanced Web Media and all other connected matters. On September 16, draft proposal of the Tour was prepared. The Maharashtra government replied to the proposal and observed that the requisite permissions from the Ministry of Finance was not obtained and the proposal itself was not forwarded to its office within the stipulated time as per the government resolution dated December 29, 2014.”

Despite this, the proposal came to be sanctioned and the DGIPR delegates were allowed to go on the said tour. The PIL contends that large amounts of money had been wasted on the said tour without requisite permissions, and that the authorities had grossly misused their powers and access to public funds for other ulterior motives.

A Division Bench of Chef Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni issued notices to the DGIPR and its officials. The matter has been adjourned for four weeks.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 2:26:15 AM |

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