CBI arrests Kashmir resident for running online child porn racket with US-based wife

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New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) The CBI has arrested a 35-year-old resident of Srinagar for allegedly running a racket that involved circulating child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the internet after targeting USA-based minors with the help of his wife who is based there, officials said Tuesday. The CBI has booked the accused under section 14 (use of child for pornographic purposes) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and section 67-B (publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act, they said.

While the probe agency did not name the accused in its statement, he was identified by officials as Niyaz Ahmad Mir. He was produced before a Srinagar court on Tuesday.

It is alleged that he was a running the racket along with his wife, understood to be a USA citizen living in Washington state. His wife, 34-year old Tamara Stanley, a resident of Hoquiam, Grays Harbor County in Southwest Washington state was arrested on June 25 this year by the US authorities and was 'charged with production of child pornography', according to a press statement from the US Justice Department. 'According to the criminal complaint, investigators obtained a judicially authorized search warrant for Stanley's email account. A review of the account revealed sexually explicit images Stanley had created of a young child,' the statement had said after the arrest. It had said the charges contained in the complaint were only allegations, adding that production of child pornography is punishable by a mandatory minimum 15 years and up to 30 years in prison in the United States.

The CBI which co-operates with the US Law Enforcement Agencies has alleged that Stanely was in a 'master-slave' relation with her accused husband and exploited many minor children in the USA on his directions.

She allegedly recorded videos of the explicit acts and sent them to the accused electronically, the CBI said.

'It is alleged that the accused uploaded the CSAM videos and images over the dark web for financial gains and was also involved in direct communication with many minors in the USA,' CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.

He said when the victims refused to follow his diktat, he allegedly shared these videos and images with their family members.

The special unit of the CBI, which tracks online CSAM, conducted searches at the premises of the accused at Srinagar which led to the recovery of incriminating digital evidences including three laptops, five mobile phones, pen drives, hand written notes etc.

'The CBI regularly coordinates with international law enforcement agencies to detect and investigate sexual abuse of minors, especially over the cyber space and also reaffirms its commitment towards promoting cooperation with US Law Enforcement Agencies in combating child sexual abuse in cyber space,' Gaur said.

On November 16, the CBI had held a Junior Engineer from Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh on the allegations of sexually abusing over 50 children in the state's Chitrakoot, Banda and Hamirpur districts. PTI ABS RDM RDM