The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday launched a major operation code named “Operation Megh-Chakra” against circulation and sharing of child sexual abuse material online, conducting raids at around 56 locations in 20 states and union territories, people familiar with the development said.
The operation was initiated based on inputs shared by the Interpol, they added. The original input about persons involved in alleged posting and circulation of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) through various social media platforms was shared by Interpol, New Zealand, which were passed on to CBI through Singapore.
A similar operation “Operation Carbon” was carried out by CBI in November 2021 when raids were conducted at 76 locations across the country against 83 persons and several persons were arrested.
CBI is also the nodal agency for the Interpol, which has an International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) image and video database, which allows investigators from member countries to share data on cases of child sexual abuse.
Used by 64 countries including India, ICSE has helped identify 23,500 survivors and 10,752 offenders worldwide from the 2.3 million images and videos the database has. It has provision of sharing data – both in open network that can be accessed by all the countries as well as with specific countries.
CBI also has constituted a special unit called Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/ Investigation (OCSAE) since 2019 for investigating matters pertaining to online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Apart from receiving various references/information, the unit undertakes investigation of various offences relating to online child sexual abuse and exploitation. It collates and investigates information received from the embassies and overseas federal probe agencies about organised rackets which are active in online child sexual abuse and exploitation.