The expert committee headed by former judge Justice RV Raveendran has been formed to look into seven broad issues framed by the Supreme Court.

members of the Pegasus technical commiteeFrom Left to Right: Professor Naveen Chaudhary, Professor Prabaharan, Professor Ashok Anil Gumaste
news Pegasus row Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 14:57

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 27, constituted a three-member technical committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe the pegasus snooping allegations. The Union government is accused of snooping on journalists, politicians and activists using the Israeli military-grade spyware Pegasus. The court, observing that freedom of the press cannot be undermined by invasion of the right to privacy, appointed the committee to investigate the allegations.

Read: ‘Can’t get free pass over national security’: SC sets up panel to probe Pegasus row

The committee will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice RV Ravindran, who will be assisted by former IPS officer Alok Joshi of the 1976 batch, who had worked as the Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, the Secretary (Research), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Dr Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman of the International   Organisation of Standardisation who is globally recognised as a cyber security expert, the court said.

The three-member technical committee includes Professor Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, (cyber security and digital forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Professor Prabaharan P, (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala and Professor Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.

Professor Naveen Kumar Chaudhary

Naveen Kumar Chaudhary has a specialisation in cyber security, e-governance, digital forensics, network security & forensics and communication engineering. His research area includes digital forensics, cyber security, e-governance, drone forensics, next generation networks, IoT security & forensics and next generation cyber range. He specialises in cyber security policy, network vulnerability assessment and penetration, the Supreme Court said.

According to the information provided on the National Forensic Science University website, Professor Naveen has published more than 27 research papers. He received the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee Commendation award for drafting a document on space technology capacity building in 2015 

Professor Prabaharan P

Professor Prabaharan P has two decades of experience in computer science and security areas. His areas of expertise are malware detection, critical infrastructural security, complex binary analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning. He was awarded the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)'s Academy Excellence Award 2018 for his research and development contribution. He has over 100 publications to his credit.

Professor Ashwin Anil Gumaste 

Professor Ashwin Anil Gumaste’s expertise includes optical networks, broadband networks, access networks, dynamic optical networks and other related technologies. He has several awards to his credit. He was in the news in 2016, when he along with 131 other scholars had filed a petition demanding the removal of Professor Sheldon Pollock, a Sanskrit scholar, as mentor and chief editor of Murty Classical Library - funded by Rohan Murty, a junior fellow at Harvard University and son of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. 

The scholars had objected to his appointment citing his support for Kashmiri separatist groups and his statements condemning actions of the Government of India.

The committee has been asked to enquire, investigate and determine “whether the Pegasus  suite of spyware was used on phones or other devices of the citizens of India to access stored data, eavesdrop on conversations, intercept information and/or for any purposes not explicitly stated herein.”

The committee has been asked to look into the details of the victims affected the spyware attack, the actions taken by the Union of India after reports were published, whether pegasus spyware was acquired by the Union of India, if Union of India used pegasus and if so, under what law, and whether its use was authorised.