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CBI cracks down on child pornography WhatsApp group; admin arrested

Cases have also been filed agaisnt 119 members of the group.

CBI cracks down on child pornography WhatsApp group; admin arrested

(Reporting by Jitender Sharma)

The CBI has arrested one person for being an administrator of a WhatsApp group dedicated to sharing child pornography. Cases have also been registered against five other administrators and 114 members of the group, which had members from seven other countries.

The man who has been arrested has been identified as 20-year-old Nikhil Verma, from Uttar Pradesh's Kanauj. Cops seized his laptop, mobile phone and hard disks. The CBI also conducted raids in Delhi and Noida in connection with the case.

The group in question has 199 members and has been active for two years, the cops said. It had members from China, Pakistan, US, Brazil, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. The police said they are contacting law enforcement agencies of these countries in connection with the illegal activities on the group.

The CBI has clarified that it is in the process of identifying the members and administrators of the group, and is not focusing on identifying the child victims yet. It also said categorically that none of its staff joined the group in the course of the investigation.

The investigative agency began monitoring the traffic on the WhatsApp group after receiving intelligence inputs on the sort of material being shared. CBI officers used the IP addresses of the members, field surveillance and physical verification to identify the members of the group. The profiles of the suspects were cross-checked with their neighbours, they said.

Verma, who has been arrested for being one of the administrators was operating out of Kanauj. CBI officials said he is a commerce graduate who is unemployed and that his father works in a jewellery shop. Other administrators have been identified as Satyender Om Prakash Chauhan from East Mumbai's Kandivali; Nafees Reza from  Delhi's Nirankari Colony; Zahid alias Zakir from Delhi's Bhairon Road, and Adarsh from Noida.

(With input from ANI)