CBI conducts raids at 59 locations in crackdown on child sexual abuse material

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday launched a major drive called ‘Operation Megh-Chakra’ against the circulation of child sexual abuse content online by raiding around 59 locations in 21 states and union territories.

A large number of electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops belonging to more than 50 suspects, were recovered during the raid, officials said. Officials said searches have spread across Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh.

The operation was launched after the agency registered two cases under the IT Act based on inputs from Interpol’s Singapore-based Crime Against Children (CAC) unit, which it received from New Zealand police, officials said.

“Currently, the agency is interrogating some suspects about illegal material found on their electronic devices to identify victims and abusers. It was alleged that many Indian nationals were involved in circulation, downloading, transmission of child sexual abuse material using cloud-based storage,” a CBI spokesperson said.

The operation targets cloud storage of audio-visual content on illegal sexual activities with minors.

“Preliminary investigation of the seized electronic devices using cyber forensics tools has revealed the presence of large quantities of child sexual abuse material in several electronic devices,” the CBI spokesperson said.

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