Indian-origin psychiatrist jailed for running dark web child abuse site in UK

Indian-origin psychiatrist jailed for running dark web child abuse site in UK

A London-based Indian-origin psychiatrist has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by a UK court for his role in helping run a dark web child abuse site.

Dr Kabir Garg, 33, was identified by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) as one of the moderators of a site called “The Annex”, which had around 90,000 members worldwide with hundreds of links to child abuse material shared every day.

He pleaded guilty in January 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.

Garg was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court in London on Friday to six years in prison and will also be subject to a Serious Harm Prevention Order and is on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

“Garg was involved in facilitating child sexual abuse on a significant scale,” said NCA’s Adam Priestley.

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“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 raise his criminality to a higher, more appalling level,” he said.

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, the NC found.

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Officers arrested Garg at his flat in Lewisham, south London, 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. His laptop and other devices were seized for analysis.

“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. As a doctor of psychiatry, he knew full well the devastating impact and trauma that abuse causes children, but this clearly did not deter him,” added NCA’s Priestley.

Their investigation revealed that 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.

NCA said it found that Garg was initially a member, but dedicated time and effort to becoming sufficiently trusted to be invited to be a moderator. He 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.

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, the NCA said.

America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also arrested and convicted five men in the US for their involvement in running the site, one of whom has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.

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  • June 24, 2023