Online child sex abuse racket: CBI arrests 7 day after raids

Following its raids on Tuesday, the agency had detained 10 people. Three of these, sources said, have been let off after questioning.

THE CENTRAL Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested seven people on Wednesday, a day after it carried out raids across the nation in a crackdown on online child sex abuse.

The seven were arrested from Delhi, Noida, Dhenkanal in Odisha, Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

“During investigation, it was revealed that the accused were allegedly sharing the links of CSEM (child sexual exploitation material) videos on certain websites…. It was revealed that some individuals were involved in trading of CSEM material,” the CBI said in a statement.

Following the raids at 77 locations across 14 states on Tuesday, the agency had detained 10 people. Three of them, sources said, were let off after questioning.

The arrested accused have been identified as Raman Gautam, Purushottam Jha and Sathyender Mittal from Delhi; Surendra Kumar Naik from Dhenkanal; Nishant Jain from Noida; Jitendra Kumar from Jhansi and T Mohan Krishna from Tirupati.

According to the CBI, Tuesday’s raids were conducted in connection with an online child sex abuse racket, which involves 5,000 offenders from around 100 nations spread across Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.

On November 14, the CBI registered 23 separate FIRs following allegations that various syndicates of individuals based in different parts of India and foreign countries were indulging in circulating, storing and viewing CSEM through various social media platforms and groups.

Following Tuesday’s raids, the CBI said a number of electronic gadgets, cellphones and laptops were recovered. “It is revealed that some individuals were involved in trading of CSEM,” the CBI said in a statement.

“As per initial information collected, there are more than 50 groups having more than 5,000 offenders sharing child sexual abuse material. Many of these groups also have involvement of foreign nationals. It is initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of around 100 countries spread across various continents. The CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels. Searches and development of further leads is underway,” the agency said in the statement.

The states where raids were conducted were Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

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