The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday launched a major operation codenamed ‘Operation Megh-Chakra’ against circulation of child sexual abuse material online, 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 raids, officials said. The searches were spread across Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, among others, officials said.
The raids were launched after the agency registered two cases under the IT Act based on inputs from the Singapore-based Crime Against Children (CAC) unit of the Interpol, which had received it from the New Zealand police, officials said.
“Currently, the agency is questioning some suspects about illicit material found on their electronic devices so as to identify the victims and the abusers. It was alleged that a number of Indian citizens were involved in circulation, downloading, transmission of child sexual abuse material using cloud-based storage,” a CBI spokesperson said.
The operation is targeted at cloud storage to circulate audio-visual material on illicit sexual activities with minors.
“Preliminary scrutiny of confiscated electronic devices using cyber forensic tools has allegedly revealed the presence of a huge quantity of child sexual abuse material in a number of electronic devices,” the CBI spokesperson said.