Raj Kundra, businessman and actor Shilpa Shetty‘s husband, was arrested by the Mumbai Police on Monday in connection with a case involving pornographic films. The police has said that Kundra was the “key conspirator” in the case, News18 reported.
According to Mumbai Police, the arrest was made based on a case registered in February and since there is “sufficient evidence” against Kundra now.
“There was a case registered with Crime Branch Mumbai in February 2021 about creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some apps. We’ve arrested Mr Raj Kundra in this case on 19/7/21 as he appears to be the key conspirator of this. We have sufficient evidences regarding this. Investigation is in progress,” said the Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hemant Nagrale.
It was only after the arrest of Umesh Kamat who is an associate of Kundra, his key role in the porn racket surfaced. After several hours of interrogation, Kundra was finally arrested on Monday, police officials said.
The Property Cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch recently made several arrests in the case, alleging that the accused were involved in making pornographic videos and were working under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms. Besides Kundra, nine others have been arrested in the case including actor Gehana Vasisth.
Speaking about the modus operandi, the Crime Branch said, post-shooting, the accused sent the pornographic content to a UK production company, Kenrin through WeTransfer and the same was uploaded on various apps using foreign IP addresses to evade Indian law. Some of these files were sent from Kundra’s office, the crime branch investigation revealed, officials added.
The accused used to tempt the aspiring actors with roles in films on OTT platforms, and later force them into pornography. While the accused earned Rs 2-3 lakhs per video, the actors were paid merely Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000, officials said.
According to Indian laws, selling and distribution of pornographic material is considered illegal. Despite the Supreme Court refusing to block pornographic websites, the Indian government issued an order in 2015 to block several such websites.
Earlier, in February 2020, actor Poonam Pandey had moved the Bombay High Court and filed a case against Kundra and his associates, accusing them of illegally using her content and circulating her number on her app. According to Pandey, her app was being managed by Kundra’s company at the time. Denying the allegations, one of Kundra’s associates had said that they had terminated the agreement the company had signed with Pandey as the videos uploaded by her were “obscene, erotic and objectionable”.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrates Court at Mumbai remanded Kundra and his associate Ryan Tharp to police custody till July 23, LiveLaw reported on Tuesday evening.
“The accused have been booked under sections 354(C) (Voyeurism), 292 (sale of obscene content), 420 (Cheating) of the IPC and Sections 67, 67A (transmission of sexually explicit material) of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.”