Raj Kundra, head of his IT firm Ryan Thorpe sent to police custody till July 23 in adult film case

Joint CP (crime) Milind Bharambe Tuesday told media persons that a decision to arrest Kundra was taken Monday after a police team searched the premises of Vihaan Industries, located in Mumbai’s Andheri (west).

Businessman Raj Kundra, who was arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the alleged making of pornographic films and publishing them through some mobile applications, was Tuesday remanded in police custody till July 23 by a Mumbai court. The IT head of Kundra’s company, Ryan Thorpe, too, was arrested and remanded to custody till Friday.

The police said that Kundra’s Mumbai-based company, Vihaan Industries, was linked to the UK-based Kenrin Pvt Ltd, which has been under the police scanner since February when they first registered an FIR in the case and arrested nine persons. The production company is owned by Kundra’s brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi, also been named as a wanted accused in the case, police said.


It was the Kenrin-owned ‘Hotshots’ phone application, the police claimed, on which the pornographic content was uploaded.

Joint CP (crime) Milind Bharambe Tuesday told media persons that a decision to arrest Kundra was taken Monday after a police team searched the premises of Vihaan Industries, located in Mumbai’s Andheri (west).

“In the search operation, our team found evidence of WhatsApp conversations, accounting sheets, e-mail and pornographic clips that clearly show that it was Kundra, who was actually running the pornographic app, Hotshots, through his company, Vihaan Industries. Hence, we summoned him for questioning and decided to place him under arrest,” Bharambe said.

The police had in April filed a chargesheet against nine persons arrested in February. The nine include Rowa Khan, alleged to be the producer of these movies, her husband Shyam Banerjee, actors Gehna Vasisht and Tanvir Hashmi among others. Currently, all are out on bail.

The police have claimed that women from small towns were promised roles in web series and when they landed up for the shooting, they would be forced to do nude scenes in what turned out to be shootings for porn films. The case was filed under relevant sections of IPC for cheating, the Information Technology Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

The police said it was through one of the arrested accused, Umesh Kamat, that the name of Kundra came to the fore. Kamat was working with Kenrin.

In its remand report seeking custody of Kundra, the police have claimed that an analysis of the laptop of Kamat showed that Kundra was copied on the e-mails sent to Kenrin’s owner Bakshi. The police also claimed that Kamat’s phone showed that Kundra had formed various WhatsApp groups for the app, namely HS Takedown, HS Operations and HS Account. HS is believed to be an abbreviation for the Hotshots app.

Kundra, police said, is the administrator of these groups as well. It has been claimed that the content of these groups showed that Kundra was overseeing all matters related to the content on these apps, including the script, storyline, remuneration paid to those involved and the revenue earned from them.

The police further claimed in its remand report that Kundra also gave instructions on these apps and payments were made on his instructions.

Bharambe said after the Hotshots app had been removed from the Apple store in June 2020 and Google store in November 2020 on complaints that it was streaming pornographic material the accused allegedly started showcasing the content through some other platforms, the police claimed.

Police also claimed that Kundra, through his company, Vihaan Industries, and its employees extended support to the app and that the company got Rs 2-3 lakh to maintain and manage the app. Bharambe said that, so far, in their investigation, they have found over Rs 7.5 crore in bank accounts in India and abroad linked to Kundra, which they suspect could be linked to the proceeds from the app.

While seeking Kundra’s remand earlier, the Mumbai police crime branch had claimed the arrests of the previous accused in the case had led them to Kundra. It was claimed that on a tip-off they had arrested five persons who were shooting obscene movies at a bungalow in Madh Island in Mumbai and other arrests followed.

In the remand plea, the police claimed Kundra co-owned a company named, Armsprime Media, founded in February 2019, which had developed the app Hotshots. It was claimed that the app was sold to Kenrin Pvt Ltd in the same year for 25000 dollars. It was further alleged that while Kundra had resigned from Armsprime, he remained connected to the app through Kenrin.

The police are now investigating if Kenrin had been created in the UK to bypass Indian laws that restrict pornography.

On Tuesday, the police had sought Kundra’s custody claiming they wanted to question him regarding his frequent contact with other co-accused over the app, transactions between two other co-accused in December 2020 involving Kenrin Pvt Ltd.

Lawyers Abad Ponda and Subhash Jadhav, opposed the remand plea of the Mumbai police, stating that Kundra’s arrest was illegal as he was not served with a notice as required by the law. It was also submitted that the charges invoked against him, including that of cheating, did not hold in the case.

Apart from this FIR, registered by the Mumbai crime branch, there are three other FIRs on similar complaints being probed by Malwani police, Lonavla police and Maharashtra cyber police respectively. Kundra had approached the court for anticipatory bail in the latter case, an order is likely to be passed next week.

Source: Read Full Article