UK: Indian-origin banker gets 15-month jail in child sex abuse case


World, Europe

The man, a married father of one, had arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl at a hotel in Birmingham.

Balachandran Kavungalparambath, the Citibank business manager, was intercepted in a hotel room in Birmingham, the United Kingdom. (Photo: Facebook/Internet Interceptors)

London: A 38-year-old Indian-origin bank employee in London has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after admitting to attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of child sex abuse.

Balachandran Kavungalparambath was caught on camera by a UK-based vigilante group called "Internet Interceptors" tracking the internet to catch adults grooming children online for sexual abuse.

Kavungalparambath, the Citibank business manager, was intercepted in a hotel room in Birmingham where he had arranged to meet one of the group's activists posing as a 14-year-old girl during WhatsApp chats.

"I will have to leave the country. I am from India. I lose my job, I have to leave the country," Kavungalparambath is heard saying on the video when asked what would happen to him as punishment.

"I have heard about this. I heard about these groups. But as I said, I was supposed to have a chat with her; it was not with the intention of getting her into a bed and having sex with her. That was not my intention," he is heard saying.

Birmingham Crown Court was told last week that the video was streamed live on Facebook, during which the London-based banker and married father of one broke down in tears and claimed he just wanted to have lunch with the youngster.

However, his own WhatsApp messages were read out to him, which indicated otherwise. "It's not right. I accept my mistake," he told members of the vigilante group on camera.

At one stage he is ordered to empty the contents of his rucksack, with perfume and condoms spilling onto a table in front of him.

Besides his 15-month jail term handed down last week, Kavungalparambath has also been placed on the sex offender register for 10 years and handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order to prevent any future re-offending.

A spokesperson for Citibank said: "This individual is not a Citi employee any longer. The offences are abhorrent."