CBI busts WhatsApp child porn group with global reach

The Central Bureau of Investigation has busted a child pornography racket operating on a global scale via a WhatsApp group.

The CBI on Thursday registered a case and booked five persons on charges of uploading and circulating child pornography through a WhatsApp group that had 119 members from both India and abroad.

The agency has arrested 20-year-old Nikhil Verma, an unemployed commerce graduate, from Kannuaj in Uttar Pradesh. 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), and all five are being questioned, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

According to the CBI, the WhatsApp group was being operated from Delhi, Noida and Uttar Pradesh.

The group - KidsXXX – had members from countries like the US, China, Pakistan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico and New Zealand, besides India.

The CBI is looking into whether the videos uploaded on the social messaging app were recorded by the accused or whether they were sourced from some other platform.

The law enforcement agencies of the foreign countries have been contacted by the CBI.

The accused were arrested when CBI, after receiving intelligence inputs, monitored the members and put the IP addresses of the systems and phones they used under surveillance.