The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested a junior engineer of the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department for allegedly sexually exploiting children and selling videos and photographs of the act to other paedophiles across the globe, PTI reported, citing officials.

He allegedly victimised around 50 children, between the ages of five and 16 years, for the last 10 years. The children are residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot, Banda and Hamirpur districts, officials said. The accused, identified as Rambhawan, is likely to be produced before the competent court soon. He has been suspended for “alleged involvement in immoral acts and misconduct”, NDTV reported.

Officials said the CBI seized about Rs 8 lakh in cash, eight mobile phones, sex toys, a laptop and other digital devices with a huge amount of child sexual abuse material.

CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said that Rambhawan used the dark web for the sale, transmission and sharing of the child abuse content with other people, according to the Hindustan Times. “The accused allegedly used these electronic items and gadgets to lure children falling in the age group of 5-16 years,” Gaur said. “The scrutiny of the emails of the accused has revealed that he was allegedly in constant touch with several individuals (both Indian and foreign nationals) for the purpose of sharing child sexual abuse material.

“Darknet” or “dark web” refers to a part of the world wide web that requires special software to access. Some websites in the “dark web” are hidden, which means they do not have an index on a search engine and can only be accessed if you know the site’s URL. Special markets are also operational within this called “darknet markets”. These primarily sell drugs and firearms, with payments done in cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The central agency’s spokesperson added that the accused created and shared a huge amount of child sexual abusive material through the internet using social media platforms and the dark net.

Unidentified officials said the accused revealed during the interrogation that he used to bribe the children with mobile phones and other electronic gadgets to keep them silent.