The closest advisers of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, have been found on the list of potential surveillance targets with the Israeli spyware Pegasus that is only sold to governments, news website The Wire reported on Thursday.
Phone numbers of staff of other Buddhist clerics, several Tibetan officials and activists were also found on a leaked database that showed they had been marked for being monitored from late 2017
The inclusion of their phone numbers, however, may not mean that they have been infected by Pegasus, as that can only be confirmed through forensic analysis of the device, it added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, political strategist Prashant Kishor, Union Ministers and dozens of journalists were found on the list of targets earlier this week in the scandal that has been dubbed “bigger than Watergate” by the opposition and strenuously dismissed by the government.
The Wire is among 17 media organisations who are publishing the investigation that says Pegasus had been used in attempted or successful hacks of smartphones using malware that enables the extraction of messages, records calls and secretly activates microphones.
The maker of the spyware NSO, which has said it sells its spyware to only “vetted governments”, has rejected the reports as “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories”. NDTV has not independently verified the reporting.