Raj Kundra, actor Shilpa Shetty‘s husband, set up the Hotshots app intending to distribute pornographic material, according to a confessional statement given by his business partner in the ongoing pornography case. The statement was part of a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Crime Branch on Wednesday, reported ETimes.
Set up by Armsprime Ltd under the directorship of Kundra and Saurabh Kushwaha, the Hotshots app was controlled by Kundra, as per Kushwaha’s statement. The latter, who held 35% stakes of the company, also said that Kundra quit his directorial position at the company just a day prior to the sale of the app to UK-based Kernin Ltd in December 2019.
Kushwaha’s statement claims he was unaware of the operations in the company, which were carried out by Kundra and the company’s tech-head Ryan Thorpe.
However, the chargesheet mentions an email exchanged between Kundra and Kushwaha in January 2020 that reportedly indicates their mutual knowledge regarding the purchase of Hotshots by Kernin.
The chargesheet also states that a forensic audit revealed money laundering of the revenues generated from the Hotshots app. It states that even before the sale of Armsprime, the funds were redirected via Google and Apple apps to Kernin’s account in UK’s Lloyds Bank.
The Crime Branch filed the supplementary chargesheet of 1,467 pages against Kundra and Thorpe with 40 statements, including Shetty’s. The chargesheet also lists Pradeep Bakshi, Kundra’s brother-in-law from his former marriage, as absconding along with two others.
Shetty, who is cited as witness number 39 in the chargesheet, said that she never asked Kundra about his work, according to the ETimes report. She said that her husband started Viaan Industries, which was involved in making animations, cartoons and apps, in 2015.
Shetty also mentioned that in February, when the Crime Branch had arrested Kundra’s PA Umesh Kamat, she had asked her husband about it and he had said that Kamath along with actor and producer Gehana Vasisth had independently shot and uploaded the porn films.
Kundra was arrested on July 19 as the “key conspirator” in the pornography case that the Mumbai Police began investigating in February. He has been accused of making pornographic videos under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms.
So far, 11 people, including Kundra, have been arrested in connection to the case.