As it happened: Tamil Nadu Police arrest a temple priest based on an alert from a US Agency!

The Tamil Nadu police have arrested a 50-year-old temple priest based on an alert that came from a non-profit agency based in the United States. The incident had turned heads and it has been reported that the alert has come to the state police after crossing different channels. The priest was apprehended for uploading child sexual abuse material in 2020. 

According to reports, the All Women Police in Udumalpet, Tamil Nadu has on Friday arrested Vaidhyanathan alias Balaji, who had been working as a priest at a local temple in Madathukulam. The arrest was made based on an alert from a US non-profit agency, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It has lodged a complaint against a particular IP address and phone number for uploading child sexual abuse material on a social media platform. 

The phone number was traced and located in Udumalpet in the Tirupur district of Tamil Nadu. The local police had arrested Vaidhyanathan and it then came to the revelation that he was working as a priest in the local temple. Following the apprehension, a case was booked against the priest under POCSO Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act. He was then remanded under judicial custody. 

The Udumalpet police said that the IP address was shared and it was linked to a user in Udumalpet. By citing that there is no victim in this care, the police said that the priest had downloaded some videos and uploaded them on Facebook. According to reports, the US non-profit agency uses image-identification technology used for detecting child sexual abuse material and other illegal content. 

NCMEC, headquartered in Virginia, US, is a non-profit agency working on preventing child sexual exploitation. The agency coordinates with social media platforms like Facebook, which pick up objectionable material, including child sexual abuse material, and share the details with NCMEC. The agency will then alert the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and through Interpol, they had reached out to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and CBI had then forwarded the alert to the Tamil Nadu police following which the priest was arrested.