INDIA. Mumbai: Businessman Raj Kundra, arrested on July 19 in the adult films case by the Mumbai Police, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days in a pornography films racket by the Metropolitan Magistrate on Tuesday.
Earlier Kundra was remanded to police custody till July 23, which was extended till July 27. On Tuesday he was remanded to judicial custody till August 10. However, his lawyers filed a bail application in the Bombay High Court. The court is expected to hear it on Wednesday.
The police, which sought his further custody, told the court it had recorded the statement of an accountant of Kundra’s company and claimed the information provided in it and the interrogation of co-accused Ryan Thorpe showed that the mobile app, Hotshots, was allegedly being run by the Viaan Industries and had earned Rs 1.17 crore between August and December 2020 from Apple Store alone.
The police said that the revenue from Google Play was expected to be much more as it has more users than Apple. The police also said it wanted further probe if any other similar platforms were started by Kundra. Since Google had removed the application, an email has been sent to the company to seek details about the revenue. It also said that they had searched Kundra’s office as well as his residence in Juhu in North West Mumbai and recorded the statement of his wife and actress Shilpa Shetty.
The police claimed that on his electronic devices — a hard disk and a desktop — seized from his house, data was recovered about companies, Armsprime Media and Viaan Industries. It also said a forensic auditor was appointed to analyze the data. Some data was allegedly destroyed by employees on Kundra’s instructions.
The police also said it had frozen accounts related to the case, including one with Rs 1.35 lakh cash. The police also stated that the statement of only one victim in the case has been recorded so far and more women and models, who had made statements on social media, have been summoned for further probe. The police also stated that they have found 51 obscene videos– 35 with Hotshots logo and 16 with BollyFame logo, during searches at the office of the accused.
Lawyers Aabad Ponda and Subhash Jadhav, representing Kundra, however, told the court that there were no grounds made for the police to be given further custody of Kundra. It was submitted that the analysis of the data cannot be a ground to keep Kundra in jail.
Raj Kundra, named as the key conspirator by the Mumbai Police, has been charged with cheating and for obscene and indecent advertisements and displays under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The police have also used sections of the IT Act and Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act against him..
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to model-actors Poonam Pandey and Sherlyn Chopra, stating that no coercive action will be taken against the duo till September 20. Sherlyn Chopra was summoned to appear before the property cell on Tuesday in connection with the porn racket case. However, they moved to the Bombay High Court seeking anticipatory bail.
On the other hand, Shilpa Shetty, who was also summoned by the authorities, reportedly fought with Kundra during a raid at their home by the crime branch. The actress broke down in tears during the argument and the team had to step in to calm her down. She also told the police that she was not in the know of her husband’s actions.