New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested seven persons in connection with the online child sexual abuse case following searches at 77 locations across 14 states around the country.

The seven accused were arrested from various places including Delhi, Dhenkanal (Odisha), Noida (U.P.), Jhansi (U.P.), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) in the ongoing investigation.

The CBI alleged that the accused were sharing the links of Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) videos on certain websites.

The agency has filed 23 separate cases on the allegations related to online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“Initial findings suggest that network spread across various continent and nationals of Pakistan, Canada, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Yaman, Egypt, Ghana, America, UK and Belgium are involved,” said CBI in a statement.

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.

“As per 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 involvement of foreign nationals. It is initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of around 100 countries spread across various continents,” the agency said.

“A number of electronic gadgets/mobiles/laptops etc. have so far been recovered during searches,” it added.

The CBI said that it is coordinating with its sister agencies through formal and informal channels to carry out the investigation.

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