CBI raids to find child sex abuse video creators

By DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent

25 September 2022

In the Telugu states the raids were conducted at Chittoor and Krishna districts in Andhra Pradesh and in different places in Hyderabad

New Delhi: The CBI on Saturday carried out mega searches at 59 locations in 21 states including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and a Union Territory, in connection with two cases of online circulation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) as part of Operation ‘Megha Chakra’.

In the Telugu states the raids were conducted at Chittoor and Krishna districts in Andhra Pradesh and in different places in Hyderabad including internet cafes. They seized hard disks and collected regular customer details in connection with downloading and circulating of CSAM using cloud-based storage.

According to sources, the CBI officials obtained inputs from Interpol, Singapore which has received from New Zealand police for sharing with the relevant countries. 

The agency said it conducted a painstaking and meticulous nationwide search at around 59 locations, including Faridabad and Fatehabad in (Haryana); Dehradun (Uttarakha-nd); Kachh, Lunavada, Rajkot and Godhra (Gujarat); Maharajgan, Hathras and Ghaziabad (UP); Bardhman and Murshidabad (Bengal); Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Thane,  Nanded, Solapur, Kolahpur and Nagpur (Maharashtra); Dhanbad and Ranchi (Jharkhand); Bengaluru, Kodagu, Ramnagara and Kolar (Karnataka); Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and New Delhi. During the searches, electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops, belonging to more than 50 suspects have been recovered.

The Central probe agency also conducted the searches in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Goa, Rajasthan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura, and Himachal Pradesh in two cases related to downloading and circulation of CSAM.

Preliminary scrutiny of these electronic devices using cyber forensic tools has revealed the presence of a huge quantity of CSAM in a number of electronic devices, the probing agency said.

The suspects are being questioned with regard to the CSAM found in their electronic devices so as to identify the child victims and the abusers, the CBI said in a statement.

The crackdown was a follow-up of a massive operation (Operation Carbon) carried out by the CBI last year against online CSAM.

“This operation is one of the CBI-led global operations in recent times for rapid response to online child sexual exploitation cases with international linkages and organised cyber-enabled financial crimes with victims, accused, suspects and conspirators located across international jurisdictions, requiring a globally coordinated law enforcement response.

“The operation Megha Chakra seeks to collate information from various law enforcement agencies within India, engage with relevant law enforcement agencies globally and coordinate closely through Interpol channels to combat online child sexual exploitation and such organised cyber criminal activities,” it said.

The coordination meetings were organised with Interpol and foreign law enforcement agencies for sharing critical information to dismantle such cybercrime networks, the CBI said, adding that further investigation in this case has been in progress.

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