The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has identified 10 more victims who were allegedly sexually abused by Uttar Pradesh-based engineer Ram Bhuwan, officials said.
Bhuwan had served in the state’s irrigation department before he was suspended and arrested on charges of sexual abuse. His wife is a suspected accomplice, in the case.
The 50-year-old engineer has been accused of abusing around 50 children in the age group of 4-16 years in three adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh --Hamirpur, Banda, Chitrakoot -- for over a decade. He has also been accused of selling videos of the crime on the dark web.
The CBI had earlier arrested another accused from the national capital. The accused, whose identity is being kept as a secret by the CBI, is understood to be an important link in unravelling the mystery behind how Bhuwan used the dark web to sell child sexual abuse material.
The agency has so far identified around 35 victims and is in the process of identifying others, officials said adding that the CBI is also working on deciphering digital evidence recovered from Bhuwan’s residence.
The agency had recently filed its chargesheet before a special court in Banda in which it had presented statements of about 25 victims, all males, aged between 4-22 years.
Bhuwan was arrested on November 16, 2020, while his wife was taken into custody on December 28, 2020.
They were arrested by a newly established special CBI unit, which is handling online child sexual abuse cases.
Bhuwan, a resident of Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested from Banda by the Special Unit of the CBI specialising in 'Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/ Investigation (OCSAE). He is currently in judicial custody.
The agency has charged Bhuwan and his wife under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy (120-B) and homosexuality (377) along with provisions of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Information Technology Act.
The Supreme Court had struck down Section 377 of the IPC but legal advice received by the CBI suggested that since the crime period spans before the law was quashed, the provisions can be invoked.
"The accused allegedly used electronic items and gadgets to lure children falling in the age group of 5-16 years. The scrutiny of the emails of the accused had revealed that he was allegedly in constant touch with several individuals (both Indian and foreign nationals) for the purpose of sharing child sexual abuse material," CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi said.
He said the accused had allegedly created and shared a huge quantity of child sexually abusive material, over the years, through the internet using various social media platforms and websites over the darknet etc.
With PTI Inputs
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