Child sexual abuse: CBI registers cases against 83

The CBI has so far identified more than 50 groups, comprising over 5,000 offenders, who shared child sexual abuse material. File   | Photo Credit: Faruqui A.M.

In a major crackdown on online sexual abuse of minors and circulation of child pornographic material, the CBI has registered 23 new cases against 83 accused persons. It also conducted searches across 14 States and Union Territories.

The CBI has so far identified more than 50 groups, comprising over 5,000 offenders, who shared child sexual abuse material. Several of these groups had foreign nationals. “It is initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of about 100 countries spread across various continents. The CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels,” said the agency.

“Searches are being carried out at 77 locations in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Several suspects have also been detained,” a CBI official said. Contents of a large number of seized electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops, were being examined.

The agency has invoked various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act against the persons who were part of syndicates involved in uploading, circulating, selling and viewing child sexual abuse material through various social media platforms and groups.

Multiple teams of investigators were developing the inputs over the past 45 days, which culminated in the registration of the cases.

Coordination with Interpol

In one of the First Information Reports, the agency has arraigned 31 alleged members of one such group. They belong to different parts of Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. An accused from Tirupati was involved in uploading and selling child sexual abuse material.

“If required, we will also seek the assistance of our counterparts in other countries via the Interpol,” the official stated. A large number of suspects are from Pakistan, Canada, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, United States, United Kingdom, Egypt, Yaman, Ghana and Belgium.

Based on the information received via the Interpol, the agency had registered some cases against those selling and circulating child sexual abuse material. In July, a coordinated action involving the Interpol Victim Identification Task Force resulted in the arrest of an accused by the CBI in Goa.

Investigation revealed that he had exploited more than two dozen children in Goa and Maharashtra. He would record the acts on digital devices and the clips and photographs were sold to other paedophiles via the darkweb. The accused and his victims were identified with the help of images and videos originally uncovered in Belgium and uploaded to the Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation database by Europol. It also helped the Australian authorities provide additional information.

In December last, the CBI arrested a person from Srinagar for allegedly running an online racket targeting children living in different parts of the United States. The accused, Niyaz Ahmed Mir, also used to upload pornographic videos and images over darkweb for sale.

The agency arrested yet another accused named Rambhawan, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot, in November last year for allegedly sexually abusing about 50 minors. He too would record the acts and sell the video clips through darkweb.

The CBI had set up the “Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/Investigation Unit” in Delhi under the Special Crime zone about two years ago to probe such cases.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:07:32 AM |

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