The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Mumbai Police to justify why actor and producer Gehana Vasisth should be arrested once again in the ongoing Raj Kundra pornography case, when she had already been in custody for over four months in connection with the same case.
According to a Bar and Bench report, the court raised this question when hearing an anticipatory bail application moved by Vasisth in the third FIR filed against her in the case.
During the hearing, the actor’s lawyer pointed out that while she was in jail during the early stages of the investigation, a second FIR was filed against her. And following her release, a third FIR was filed pertaining to the same case seeking her custody once again. He also added that the police had already seized all the material pertaining to the case.
According to Vasisth’s lawyer, the FIRs are a pressure tactic by the police to get the actor to give out the “names of some big fish and then be released.”
Asking the prosecution to explain why Vasisth should be arrested again when she had already been in custody for over four months for offences similar to those in the present FIR, Justice Sandeep Shinde said, “In the second FIR, you scrutinised her involvement when she was in custody, and yet you could not find out who the owner of the OTT channel was to whom the video was sold.”
The judge added that the police has to state what material was seized in the February FIR and what new material is being sought now.
Justice Shinde also wondered how Vasisth could have gone for shooting in March if the alleged exploitation incident took place in February. “How can a person indulge in similar acts within a month?” he asked.
The public prosecutor informed the court that the allegation against Vasisth was of forcing women to shoot obscene videos under the false pretence that the videos would not be released.
When Vasisth’s lawyer sought protection from arrest for the actor, the court stated that no coercive action will be taken until the next hearing.
The case in question involves the creation of pornographic videos under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms and the distribution of these videos on apps such as Hotshots.
Kundra, who is actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband, has been accused as a “key conspirator” in the case and is currently in jail. Since his arrest on July 19, Vasisth has constantly been supporting Kundra through her Instagram page and has been claiming that the videos are not porn but ‘erotica’.
Vasisth was also earlier summoned by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch for questioning in August.