New Delhi, 18th March 2023: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested an accused, resident of District Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) in an ongoing investigation of a case.

A case was registered against an accused & other unknown persons on the allegations of creating, collecting, seeking, browsing, downloading, exchanging/distributing material depicting children in sexually explicit act etc. in electronic form.

CBI found Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) images & videos from the INTERPOL’s Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database. The analysis of the images using cyber forensic tools, location of incident was traced to Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. Analysis of videos revealed that a few victims were allegedly being sexually abused by male persons.

Searches were conducted at the premises of accused which led to recovery of incriminating electronic gadgets.

It was alleged that the accused has been sexually abusing a child for last 4 years. It was further alleged that the accused forced victims to perform penetrative sexual acts on them as well on other minor children, including a minor victim girl; clicked photographs & recorded video; forced them to watch sexual acts with other adult person; threatened them with publishing the pictures/video on social media and for bringing more minor girls. It was also alleged that the arrested accused (aged about 35 years), resident of District Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) is pursuing Ph.D.

It may be recalled that considering serious nature of this menace, CBI set up a Specialised Unit in 2020 to handle cases of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material and joined INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Abuse Database {ICSE) in 2022. Further, 90th INTERPOL General Assembly hosted by India at New Delhi in 2022 passed an important resolution for supporting countries in their efforts to identify and investigate online child sexual exploitation.

The resolution recognized that the protection of children is a priority for all INTERPOL member countries. INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation database (ICSE) is a key instrument in this international effort, enabling the collection & analysis of abuse material, and collaboration among specialized units towards the apprehension of offenders & identification of child victims. It was agreed to strengthen cooperation regarding investigation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse offences. It is critical to have effective coordinated international response to this criminal activity, and to ensure the protection of children globally.

Delegation from India made an intervention while endorsing this resolution during the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly and detailed the importance of real-time information sharing and coordinated global action to combat the menace of online child sexual exploitation. The important contributions being made by India towards ICSE database of INTERPOL in this regard were highlighted. Also operational outcomes of Operation CARBON and Operation MEGHCHAKRA launched by CBI India for coordinated action on online child sexual exploitation were detailed.

Operation Carbon was undertaken in November 2021 and Operation Megh Chakra in September 2022. These Operations resulted in registration of several cases and arrests of around 17 accused. As part of these Operations, simultaneous searches were conducted at around 138 locations in various States/UTs which led to recovery of huge incriminating CSAMs, electronic storage devices including mobile phones, laptops, hard disc etc.