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Priyanka Gandhi’s Children’s Instagrams Not Hacked: Sources After Probe

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has not filed a formal complaint. (File)

New Delhi:

The Instagram accounts of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s children have not been hacked, official sources told NDTV on Wednesday. The initial investigation by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team CERT-In found that the accounts were not hacked, sources said.

Ms Gandhi Vadra had alleged on Tuesday that the government has hacked the Instagram accounts of her children — 18-year-old Miraya Vadra and 20-year-old Raihan Vadra.

“They are even hacking my children’s Instagram accounts, let alone phone tapping. Do they not have any other work?” she had said in response to a question on Central agencies’ raids on political opponents and allegations of illegal phone surveillance.

Ms Gandhi Vadra has not filed a formal complaint. But sources said the government took note of the matter and decided to conduct an investigation on its own.  

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had handed the matter to the CERT-In, which runs an advanced lab that can trace hackers and prevent cyberattacks.

Allegations of illegal phone surveillance has spiked since the Pegasus spyware issue became public. Ms Gandhi Vadra and other opposition leaders have since been demanding a thorough investigation into the matter.  

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s brother and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been revealed to be on the alleged list of potential targets on a leaked database of Pegasus, the spyware from Israeli company NSO.

Several other opposition leaders, two union ministers, businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, a virologist and 40 journalists were also said to be on the alleged list. It is not established, however, that all the phones were hacked.

“I am not a ‘potential target’. My phone is tapped, it is clearly tapped. Not only this phone, all my phones are tapped,” Rahul Gandhi had told reporters soon after.

With the Israeli firm claiming that the spyware is only sold to governments, the opposition demanded a court-monitored inquiry. The matter is now pending in the Supreme Court, which formed an inquiry panel headed by a retired judge in October.

Earlier this week, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that his phones were being tapped and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath listens to the recordings every evening.

“All our telephonic conversations have been heard. This ‘anupyogi’ chief minister himself listens to the recordings of some people every evening,” Mr Yadav alleged. He also asked reporters to “remain alert, if you are speaking to me.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a similar claim.

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