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CBI biggest crackdown on child pornography carried out across 20 states 

CBI has found that almost all recruitments of non-gazetted services in the last 5 years were based on a fraudulent process.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday carried out raids at 56 locations across 20 states in its biggest crackdown on the circulation of child sexual abuse material on the Internet, according to senior officials.

The operation against child pornography is targeted at cloud storage facilities used by the peddlers to circulate audio-visuals of illicit sexual activities with minors, due to which the operation has been codenamed ‘Meghachakra’.

The searches were based on inputs from Interpol Singapore and intelligence obtained during last year’s Operation Carbon, conducted against peddlers of CSAM (child sexual abuse material) on the Internet, , an official said.

Saturday’s raids are being conducted across Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu among other states.

The agency, being the first one to set up a cyber-crime unit, has hit CSAM peddlers across India, an official said.

Earlier, under Operation Carbon, suspects in 13 States and one Union Territory were raided. Apart from the accused Indian nationals, the other suspects were from countries like Pakistan, Canada, the United States, United Kingdom  South Africa Bangladesh,  Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and United Arab Emirates.

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.

The raids come after the Supreme Court last week asked the centre to submit a detailed report on the mechanism in place to monitor the cases involving circulation of child pornographic material.

The top court had also sought a status report from the internet companies in the matter.

In 2018, during an apex court hearing, both the government and internet giants, including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, agreed that videos of rape and child pornography needed to be “stamped out”.