Indian-origin doc mastermind in dark web child abuse site jailed

A 33-year-old Indian-origin psychiatrist from London has been jailed for six years for helping to run a dark web site dedicated to the sexual abuse of children.

London: A 33-year-old Indian-origin psychiatrist from London has been jailed for six years for helping to run a dark web site dedicated to the sexual abuse of children.

Kabir Garg, who was sentenced on Friday at Woolwich Crown Court, will also be subject to a Serious Harm Prevention Order and is on the Sex Offenders Register for life, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Garg pleaded guilty in January this year to eight charges, including facilitating the sexual exploitation of children, three counts each of making and distributing indecent images of children, and possession of prohibited images.

Investigations identified Garg as one of the moderators of a site called ‘The Annex’, which had around 90,000 members worldwide and saw hundreds of links to child abuse material shared every day.

NCA officers arrested Garg at his flat in Lewisham in November 2022 as part of a coordinated operation with international partners, at a time when the site was open on his laptop with Garg logged into his moderator account.

The Annex, which is no longer active, was run like a company and had a team of around 30 administrators, who worked in shifts around the clock to ensure the smooth running of the site.

Members accessed The Annex using Tor, a dark web browser which is estimated to have 1.4 million global users. Forty per cent of the total searches facilitated by Tor are for child sexual abuse material, NCA investigations revealed.

Investigations showed that Garg was responsible for enforcing the rules of the site and removing members who did not comply.

He also provided advice on how to evade law enforcement, shared and encouraged other users to share links to child abuse material.

“He used the dark web to access a global community of paedophiles sharing and discussing horrific crimes against children. He then ensured he was such a trusted and respected member that he was invited to become a member of staff, involved in its daily management. This organisation and willingness to enable other offenders raises his criminality to a higher, more appalling level,” Adam Priestley, from the National Crime Agency, said.

NCA officers recovered chat logs from his devices which showed posts, messages and files sent by Garg’s account. These clearly demonstrated his sexual interest in children and his role as a moderator.

Over 7,000 images and videos of child abuse were also recovered, along with messages which showed him applying for, and being promoted to, a site moderator rank with greater responsibility and access.

“There are hundreds of thousands of members of such sites on the dark web, but few of them are prepared to commit to being a member of staff, which involves dedicating a lot of time for no payment,” Priestley said.

According to Priestley, as a doctor of psychiatry, Garg knew full well the devastating impact and trauma that abuse causes children, but this clearly did not deter him.

Garg also had a number of articles and journals on his laptop, which he had acquired as part of his job as a psychiatrist, that indicated he was well aware of the psychological impact of sexual abuse on children.

These had titles such as ‘Puberty and Adolescent Sexuality’, ‘A Study on Child Abuse India’, and ‘Effects and Aftermath of Rape’.

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