Swati Chaturvedi was selected for surveillance by an NSO client in India in 2018 and 2019. Forbidden Stories was unable to analyze the phone to confirm the infection.
Who is she?
Swati Chaturvedi is one of India’s best known investigative journalists and author of the 2018 book “I Am A Troll: Inside the World of the BJP’s Digital Army,” an investigation into the ruling BJP party’s network of internet trolls that helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi win a second term in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Chaturvedi began her journalism career at The Statesman and has worked for a number of other media outlets including the Indian Express and the Hindustan Times. In 2018 and 2019, she published a number of investigations for The Wire, including an exclusive about the Rafale deal suggesting that CBI director Alok Verma had been preparing to launch an initial probe into the Rafale contract when he was sacked by the government in October 2018.
She continued to report on this story throughout 2019, and in September of that year published an exclusive story detailing how the team that had investigated Verma’s replacement in the CBI, Rakesh Asthana, a close Modi ally, had all been fired. Chaturvedi received the 2018 Reporters Without Borders “prize for courage” for her reporting on online trolling.
"Exclusive: CBI Director Alok Verma's Interest in Rafale Tipped Scales Against Him" The Wire (2018)Read
"Exclusive: Entire CBI Team Probing Rakesh Asthana's Alleged Corruption Has Now Been Purged" The Wire (2019)Read
The Indian government has never confirmed or denied being a client of NSO Group. “The allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote in response to detailed questions sent by Forbidden Stories and its partners. NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”