TDP alleges Nara Lokesh’s phone tapped by Jagan govt, complains to ECI

TDP leader Kanakamedala Ravindra claimed that party general secretary Nara Lokesh, son of former CM Chandrababu Naidu, got a security alert from Apple, and alleged that YSRCP was tapping his phone.
TDP leader Nara Lokesh
TDP leader Nara LokeshFacebook
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The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has complained to the Election Commission of India alleging tapping of the phone of its general secretary Nara Lokesh, at the behest of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh. Former Rajya Sabha member and TDP leader Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar on Friday, April 12 wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in this regard, after Nara Lokesh purportedly received a security alert from Apple on his iPhone device. The letter claimed that Apple informed Lokesh, son of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, that his phone was tapped using the spyware Pegasus by unknown agencies. 

A text message from Apple attached to the letter said, “Apple is contacting you at this phone number because it is listed as a recovery number for Apple ID Apple sent an urgent security alert to the email addresses and primary phone number associated with that Apple ID. If you have not already seen the security alert, please check those addresses or ask the owner of that Apple ID to check the phone number and email addresses associated with their Apple ID for more information.”

Based on this message, TDP alleged unauthorised phone tapping by some police officers. In his letter, Ravindra said that Lokesh received a similar message in March too. The TDP leader alleged that Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Rajendranath Reddy and intelligence chief PSR Anjaneyulu had become "lackeys" of YSRCP and were resorting to "unethical and unlawful acts to jeopardise" the prospects of NDA alliance partners in the ensuing election to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and the Lok Sabha.

Ravindra Kumar alleged that Anjaneyulu is a "henchman" of the YSRCP government and that there are several allegations against the biased functioning of this officer. He urged the ECI to initiate action against these officers, appoint neutral and reputed officers in their positions and ensure free and fair elections. Andhra Pradesh is slated to go to polls on May 13.

Several politicians in the past have reported receiving such alerts from Apple. In October 2023, multiple Opposition MPs including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress’s Mahua Moitra, Congress’s Shashi Tharoor, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi, received warnings from Apple about a state-sponsored surveillance attack on their phone. Apple soon issued a statement saying it “does not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state sponsored attacker,” and that it was possible that some Apple threat notifications “may be false alarms.” “We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future,” the statement said.

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