London: The UK's police watchdog on Monday launched a probe into alleged corruption in Scotland Yard ranks for shielding influential politicians and officials involved in sex offences against children, including an Indian-origin boy who was found murdered in the 1980s.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating 14 referrals relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s.
It said the claims were of "high-level corruption of the most serious nature".
The cases under review will include that of Indian-origin eight-year-old boy Vishal Mehrotra who was found murdered in 1981.
His retired magistrate father, Vishambar Mehrotra, has maintained that he fell victim to a high-profile child abuse ring at the time.
The Metropolitan Police said it had voluntarily referred the allegations to the watchdog.
Sarah Green, deputy chairperson of the IPCC, said: "These allegations are of historic, high-level corruption of the most serious nature.
"We will oversee the investigations and ensure that they meet the terms of reference that we will set. Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust," Green said.
The claims referred to the IPCC by the Met Police after an internal inquiry include that the force suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.
The IPCC will now manage an investigation already being conducted by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards into alleged police corruption.
Vishal was abducted as he walked home to Putney in south-west London after watching the marriage procession of the Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
He disappeared less than a mile away from the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, where a group of high-profile paedophiles including MPs are said to have abused young boys.
Six months later the young boy's bones were found in a field nearby.
A Met Police spokesperson said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission have today announced they will manage the investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service's directorate of professional standards, concerning historic allegations of impropriety by police officers when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse."
The allegations emerged while officers were working on Operation Fairbank and relate to the period between 1970 - 2005.
"The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) recognised the severity of the allegations, and the importance of understanding whether or not our officers had in the past acted inappropriately, and therefore voluntarily referred the 16 separate allegations to the IPCC," the spokesperson said.