The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal West on Saturday remanded three accused persons into 15-day judicial custody till July 3, in connection with their alleged activities concerning a vulgar Facebook page and WhatsApp group.
In connection with their alleged activities, Konjengbam Karorchandra Khaba, 27, son of K Ibotombi Khaba of Ward No VIII Kongkham Makha Leikai PO and Police Station, Nambol; Abujam Shatyajit Singh ,27, son of A Manaoton Singh of Changangei Maning Leikai PO and Police Station Tulihal, Lamphel were arrested by Cyber Crime Police Station. Another accused, Khanchui Mangkung, 27, son of (L) Jonathan M of Sorbung village was arrested by Imphal Police Station. They were remanded into police custody till Saturday.
In completion of the police custody remand period, the investigating officer of the case produced them before the court through a video conference with a prayer of 15-day judicial custody for smooth investigation.
During the hearing, the additional public prosecutor for the state submitted that the accused Konjengbam Karorchandra Khaba is a member of the Facebook page “Kanglei Emagi...” and is also a member of a WhatsApp group called “Gyan Lousing” using his mobile number 7005401282. It was submitted that he had uploaded some obscene videos and also shared a ‘MEGA’ link which contained several pornographic materials including local photos, videos of Manipuri women and child pornographic materials. It was also submitted that incriminating contents, including one child pornographic video which he had uploaded on the WhatsApp group namely “Gyan Lousing” was recovered from his WhatsApp messaging app.
It was further submitted that other pornographic photos and videos found on the web link shared by him in the WhatsApp group were recovered. The additional public prosecutor further submitted that the accused Abujam Shatyajit Singh is also a member of the said WhatsApp group where obscene videos and photos and child pornographic contents are being shared using his mobile no. 8837437651. A prayer for remanding both the accused into judicial custody for smooth investigation of the case was also submitted.
Khanchui is charged with u/s 354-D(II) IPC & 67-A/67-B IT act for administering a WhatsApp group having no name but having three fireballs logo and semi-nude picture of a woman as profile picture. The said group was allegedly created on March 22, 2021 by the accused person and has 255 members. It is also alleged that the said group, in which the accused person is an admin, has many uploaded explicit materials like videos and pictures, child pornography videos and are transmitted among the group members and to others through electronic medium and social media.
It is alleged that there are discussions on the demand and supply of girls and videos, photos and contact number of women amongst the group. It is further alleged that the accused created the said unnamed WhatsApp group on the request of members of his Facebook group called “Kanglei Emagi...” to facilitate the uploading of pictures, videos and chats containing sexually explicit items. The accused person is alleged of providing girls and intoxicating items, and a spot to the members of the said WhatsApp group in exchange of money.
It is also alleged that the accused person along with his group members used to exchange and provide mobile numbers of girls to the members of the said group using ‘Telegram’ mobile application. A prayer for remanding the accused into judicial custody for investigation and recovering more incriminating items was submitted, while the counsels of the accused persons prayed to release them on bail.
The court after hearing and examining of the facts and materials on record opined that there exist prima-facie materials against the accused persons for storing and propagating pornographic materials including child pornography. Even though, the maximum punishment for the offences alleged against the accused persons are of five years, the offences they had committed are serious, considering the conservative nature of the state of Manipur, the court stated.
It was further observed that their alleged act has offended and demoralised women's society.
It was observed that the ground taken by accused Konjengbam Karorchandra Khaba that he is the sole bread earner of the family and has an ailing father, and a seven-month pregnant wife, is not sufficient enough to release him on bail. In this regard, the court opined that the accused persons should have foreseen the effects of the offences they have committed before committing them. However, it was not the case and they went on with their dark desires to store and propagate pornographic materials including child pornographic material in the social media and the internet, the court stated.
It was stated that on further consideration, the court finds no point in excusing the accused persons for the offences they have committed. Further, if the accused persons are released on bail it may be seen as an encouragement to the accused persons to commit similar offences in the future, it stated. Therefore, the accused persons were sent into judicial custody for further investigation.