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Opinion

Uttar Pradesh: engineer arrested for exploiting 50 children

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested a Uttar Pradesh government employee for allegedly sexually exploiting 50 children between the ages of 5 and 16 over a decade and selling sexual abuse videos and photos on the dark web to pedophiles around the world. world, people familiar with the development said on Tuesday.

Rambhawan, a junior engineer in the state irrigation department, allegedly victimized children in Chitrakoot, Banda and Hamirpur districts. He collected and shared Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) with other pedophiles using the dark web and cloud services abroad, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

“Aside from the physical abuse of these children, the defendants also allegedly recorded their acts using their mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices,” said RK Gaur, a CBI spokesman.

Rambhawan, 41, hails from Naraini City in Banda District and has been stationed in Karvi City in Chitrakoot District for the past two years in the Irrigation Department. Before that, he was stationed at Prayagraj. Late at night, Jal Shakti State Minister Mahendra Singh said the junior engineer was suspended.

The defendant was arrested in Banda and charged under the Information Technology Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Amit Kumar, CBI’s deputy police superintendent, said the engineer was arrested on Monday and brought before a court in Banda on Tuesday. Kumar informed the executive engineer of the irrigation department in Karvi, Chitrakoot, of the arrest through a letter, a copy of which is on HT. The Banda court referred him to the custody of CBI.

During the searches, the CBI recovered eight mobile phones, about eight lakh rupees in cash, sex toys, laptops and other digital evidence that contained a large amount of CSAM, authorities said.

“The defendant allegedly used these electronic items and gadgets to attract children in the age group of 5 to 16 years. Scrutiny of the defendant’s emails has revealed that he was allegedly in constant contact with various people (both Indian and foreign) for the purpose of sharing CSAM, ”Gaur said.

Gaur said the defendants allegedly created and shared a large number of CSAM over the years over the internet using various social media platforms and websites via the dark web, the part of the internet not covered by the search engines and thus beyond typical access. users. Often times, dark websites are used for cybercrime because they cannot be accessed by traditional methods or browsers.

“It was alleged that the defendant used the dark web to sell, transmit and share said CSAM content with other people,” Gaur added.

A CBI officer who did not want to be named said the defendant revealed during questioning that he used to lure children with cell phones and other electronic devices.

CBI has a special unit called Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention / Investigation (OCSAE) for issues related to online child sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition to receiving various referrals / information, the unit is investigating various crimes related to child sexual abuse and exploitation online.

People familiar with the development said the accused junior engineer has been registered under the POCSO (Prevention of Sexual Offenses Against Children) Act and the Information Technology Act. If convicted, he can face a life sentence.

A UP government official said, on condition of anonymity, that CBI teams were in Chitrakoot for about a month, investigating the engineer and questioning several people, including his driver, people close to him, and those who tampered with or sold gadgets. electronic

Chitrakoot Police Superintendent Ankit Mittal said local police never received any complaints about him sexually abusing children.

Child sexual abuse is punishable in India under 2012 under the POCSO Act of 2012 and sections of the IPC. According to the National Office of Criminal Records, 126 cases were filed under POCSO every day in 2019.

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