LUCKNOW: A 40-year-old junior engineer with the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department was arrested on Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly sexually exploiting children and peddling videos and photographs on the dark web to paedophiles worldwide.
The accused, Ram Bhawan, exploited at least 50 children in the 5-16 age-group over a 10-year span in the Bundelkhand districts of Chitrakoot, Banda and Hamirpur, a CBI official said. He was arrested from Karvi town of Chitrakoot, where he was posted. Within hours of this arrest, the irrigation department suspended him from service.
During searches at his two residences in neighbouring Banda, the CBI seized eight mobile phones, Rs 8 lakh in cash, sex toys, laptops, and unearthed digital evidence of child sexual abuse material, the agency said. An FIR was registered against the accused in the Delhi special crime branch unit of CBI last week. Sources said the CBI will seek police custody as they believe he was not acting alone.
Explaining the modus-operandi of the accused, a CBI official said he would lure children with electronic gadgets and flashy cellphones and later muzzle them with more gifts after abusing and filming them in the act. The accused would contact and share child sexual abuse material with paedophiles across the world on the cloud and darknet.