Child porn on WhatsApp: CBI unearths global racket

Child porn on WhatsApp: CBI unearths global racket

Child porn on WhatsApp: CBI unearths global racket

The CBI on Thursday claimed to have unearthed a "global" child pornography racket run by a 20-year-old commerce graduate.

The racket circulates child porn videos and images through WhatsApp to members across the world.

There are at least 119 members  in the WhatsApp group 'KidsXXX', which has five administrators, all of them Indians.

The members of the group are  from India and 18 other countries, including the US, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Mexico, New Zealand, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Brazil, among others.

Nikhil Verma (20), the suspected kingpin, was arrested from his hometown in Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj and is being brought to Delhi.

Besides Verma, the other administrators of the group are Satyendra Chauhan (Mumbai), Nafees Reza and Zahid (Delhi) and Adarsh (Noida).

CBI sources said the cracking of the group came on specific inputs and the members were found to be uploading or circulating child abuse pornography material, both videos and pictures.

The CBI conducted searches in Delhi, Noida, Kannuaj and Mumbai and has recovered computers, hard disks, phones, videos and photos of sexually abused children.

The victims are yet to be identified.

Sources said the agency will now write to the authorities in the  countries in which the Whatsapp group members are nationals  seeking information about  them.

Details of investigations done by the CBI will also be shared with their counterparts in these countries.

Investigators are looking into whether it is an organised syndicate shooting child sexual abuse videos and selling it in the virtual world.

It is also being probed whether these videos and images were uploaded for money. Sources said the group  has been active for the past two years.

A case has been registered under Section 67(B) of the Information Technology Act, which prescribes a five-year prison term and a fine of up to Rs  10 lakh for a first-time offender for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit acts in electronic form.

A second-time offender would be jailed for seven years and can be fined up to Rs 10 lakh.

Last month, taking the menace of child pornography seriously, the Ministry of Home Affairs had advised states to maintain a list of suspect profiles for monitoring, especially busting rackets of child pornography, human trafficking and blackmailing.

The Supreme Court had also expressed concern over the issue last year and asked the central government to take proactive steps to prevent the menace.

The apex court also asked the government to take steps to stop access to websites featuring child pornography.

The Centre had told the apex court last year that it was taking steps to deal with the issue in its entirety.

In a bid to contain online child pornography, the government had also asked internet service providers to identify websites posting child sex abuse content through a list maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation and block it.

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