Today the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at 56 locations across 19 States and one Union Territory, as part of a pan-India drive against the circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).
The operation code-named “MeghaChakra” is being carried out on the following inputs received from the Interpol’s Singapore special unit also based on the information received from the authorities in New Zealand on 24 September 24, 2022.
Searches are being carried out in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Telengana and Tamil Nadu among others.
Last November, the agency had launched a similar exercise code-named “Operation Carbon”, in which the suspects in 13 States and one Union Territory were raided. Subsequently, the CBI registered about two dozen cases involving more than 80 people. This operation was conducted at 76 locations across the country.
The persons names mentioned in the First Information Reports (FIRs) were booked under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, for allegedly being part of the syndicates that uploaded, circulated, sold and viewed CSAM through various social media platforms and groups.
Based on recent learnings, the CBI had later decided to send requests to several countries for gathering information under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) for those involved in. More than 100 references were to be made.
Apart from the accused Indian nationals, the other suspects were from countries like Pakistan (36), Canada (35), the United States (35), Bangladesh (31), Sri Lanka (30), Nigeria (28), Azerbaijan (27), Yemen (24), Malaysia (22), Saudi Arabia (19), Indonesia, (19), Egypt (21), United Arab Emirates (19), United Kingdom (17), South Africa (15), Nepal (15), Algeria (17), Iraq (14), Afghanistan (12), Kenya (12), and Oman (12).
The probe led to the identification of over 50 groups with more than 5,000 offenders, including the nationals of about 100 countries, also including Turkey, Poland, Sudan, South Korea, Uganda, Kuwait, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia and Romania.