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Vikash Sharma

Eight officers of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team on Tuesday faced public ire during a raid in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district in connection with a nation-wide investigation into an alleged racket involved in the cyber sexual abuse of children and circulation of abusive material on social media.

As part of the probe, the Central agency on Tuesday carried out simultaneous raids at different locations across 14 states including Odisha. The CBI has registered 23 separate cases against 83 people on charges of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

As per reports, a CBI team which reached the house of one Surendra Nayak at Colony Sahi in Dhenkanal came under attack by an angry mob of locals. The CBI team reached Nayak’s house at around 7 am today. It is alleged that the locals got angry after the interrogation continued till afternoon.

Several women brandishing wooden planks gheroaed the CBI officials and beat them up. The mob allegedly dragged the CBI officials out of Nayak’s house before assaulting them. The officers were subsequently rescued by the Town Police station staff.

Senior officials at Town police station said that the CBI officials had not intimated about their visit.

Sources said Nayak was part of a group on social media where he used to share links containing adult content. “I had joined a group named Desi MMS. The CBI officials today asked me about the number of members in the group and when I had joined. They took away my mobile phone,” said Nayak.

Nayak admitted to have created a WhatsApp group having members from different parts of the country. “It was only two months that I joined the group after coming across a link on the internet. I was only sharing the links of adult contents from one website to other sites and groups. I had received 21 USD (Rs 2000 approximately),” Nayak added.

CBI as a National Central Bureau (Interpol-India) is uniquely placed to coordinate such matters having national and international ramifications. A Special Unit “Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/ Investigation (OCSAE)” was created in CBI for matters pertaining to online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Apart from coordination with various agencies, the unit is undertaking investigation of various offences relating to online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

A number of electronic gadgets, mobiles, laptops etc have so far been recovered during searches. It is revealed that some individuals were involved in trading of CSEM material.

As per the initial information collected there are more than 50 groups having more than 5000 offenders sharing child sexual abuse material. Many of these groups also have the involvement of foreign nationals. It is initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of around 100 countries spread across various continents. CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels. Searches and development of further leads are underway.

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