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Child porn racket on WhatsApp busted, 20-year-old graduate arrested from UP

CBI arrested Nikhil Verma, a 20-year-old, unemployed commerce graduate, who is one of the five alleged administrators of the WhatsApp group KidsXXX.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2018 23:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Child porn,Child porn racket,CBI child porn
The CBI probe has revealed that the WhatsApp group had 119 members from countries including the US, China, Brazil and Pakistan.(AFP file)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday registered a case and booked five persons on charges of uploading and circulating child pornography through a Whatsapp group called ‘KidsXXX’ that had 119 members from India and abroad.

The agency has arrested one of the five alleged administrators of the group, Nikhil Verma, according to a CBI spokesperson. Verma is a 20-year-old, unemployed commerce graduate from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, the spokesperson said.

Besides Verma, the other administrators of the WhatsApp group were identified as Satyendra Chauhan, Nafees Raja, Zahid and Adarsh. A case has been filed against them under Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act and the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

The official said the agency conducted searches in Delhi, Maharashtra and UP on Thursday in connection with the case and recovered incriminating material stored on computers, hard disks and mobile phones.

A preliminary probe revealed that the WhatsApp group had members from countries including US, China, Pakistan and Brazil, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico and New Zealand, besides India. The CBI will write to its counterparts in these countries seeking assistance to identify all the members of the group, the official said.

The CBI will investigate if an organised gang was shooting the videos and pictures and selling them in the virtual world, the spokesperson said.

A CBI official familiar with the matter said the registration of the case was the culmination of a three-month-long field probe during which its investigators travelled to across several locations where computers and mobile phones were found to be in use as per their Internet Protocol address. They also gathered background information of the suspects.

Accessing, producing, recording, uploading or circulating child abuse videos or picture is an offence punishable by seven to 10 years in prisons and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh under the Information Technology Act, the
official added.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 18:08 IST