While the said WhatsApp group, named “KidsXXX”, have five administrators and 119 members, the main accused – identified as Nikhil Verma – has been arrested.

In a major crack down on the circulation of child pornography, the Central bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday registered a case against members of a WhatsApp group – who were allegedly linked to an international racket involved in uploading such videos through the messaging application.

Filing a case under Section 67-B of the Information Technology Act, the CBI dubbed the case as a global crime, while the investigating agency will be probing 119 members of the group – who hail from several countries including India, US, Pakistan, China and Brazil.

While the said WhatsApp group, named “KidsXXX”, have five administrators, the main accused – identified as Nikhil Verma, son of a worker in a jewellery shop, who is pursuing his graduation in commerce and is currently unemployed – has been arrested.

The CBI on Thursday raided the premises of the kingpin of the group and four other administrators – Satyendra Chauhan, Nafees Raja, Zahid and Adarsh – in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Following searches, the agency claimed to have recovered computers, hard disks, phones and incriminating videos and photos of children being sexually abused.

The CBI is also set to share investigation details in the case with officials from US, Pakistan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Niria, Mexico and New Zealand.

According to the CBI, the members of the group have been getting disturbing pictures and videos of child pornography through the WhatsApp group, to satiate their perverted lust. Reportedly, the CBI had been trying hard to bust the racket for three months without using any WhatsApp surveillance, to track down the accused merely on the basis of field work of obtaining corroborating evidence.

Officials of the CBI claimed that the agency travelled to localities from where IP addresses of the computers and mobile phones used to upload and circulate child pornography videos and made a thorough background checks and behavioural analysis of the suspects, before acting against them.

According to the Information Technology Act accessing, producing, recording, uploading or circulating child abuse videos or picture are serious offenses and might attract a jail term of up to seven years, a fine of Rs 10 lakh or both.