The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against businessman and Raj Kundra, husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, in relation to the production and circulation of pornographic films.
Sources in the agency reportedly said that Kundra had formed the company Arms Prime Media Limited in February 2019. He also developed the Hotshots app, which was later sold to the UK based company, Kenrin, whose CEO happens to be Kundra’s brother-in-law, Pradeep Bakshi. They further claimed that Kundra’s other company, Viaan Industries, had tied up with Kenrin for the maintainence of the Hotshots app, for which crores of rupees were transacted to and from 13 bank accounts belonging to Viaan Industries.
They also stated that the Hotshots app was actually a platform for pornographic films made in India and were uploaded on the app, which offered subscriptions. Explaining how the transactions circulated through the UK and came into Kundra’s company, the sources further mentioned that the profits gained from the subscribers of the app, were all under the name of Viaan Industries.
The investigation in the case began in February 2021. However, Kundra was arrested by the Mumbai Police on July 19 as the “key conspirator” in the case, who was accused of making pornographic videos under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms.
Besides Kundra, 1o more people, including his associate Ryan Thorpe, were also arrested in connection to the case.
The accused were 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.
Later, a supplementary 1467-page chargesheet was filed against Kundra by the Mumbai Crime Branch in the case.
On September 20 last year, after multiple rejections, Kundra was finally granted bail in the case on a surety of Rs 50,000.
Kundra is also involved in another similar case in connection with pornography that dates back to October 2020. In December 2021, he was granted four-week protection from arrest by the Supreme Court.
Following which, Kundra took to social media and talked about the case, denying all involvement in the production and distribution of pornographic content. He went on to term the whole episode a ‘witch hunt.’