Raj Kundra arrest: Here are the latest developments
Raj Kundra was remanded to judicial custody for two weeks till August 10 in the alleged porn films racket case.
The Mumbai Police arrested Raj Kundra, the husband of actress Shilpa Shetty, on July 19 for allegedly creating pornographic content. A day later, on July 20, Mumbai Police told media that Raj Kundra and his brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi are the alleged masterminds of an international porn films racket perpetrated through their content production companies based in India and the United Kingdom. Mumbai's Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Milind Bharambe also said that the two companies had a mobile app called 'HotShots Digital Entertainment'. According to reports, the app showcased some models and celebrities in exclusive photos, short films and hot videos -- implying soft-to-hard porn.
Here are all the latest developments in the case:
• On July 27, Raj Kundra was remanded to judicial custody for two weeks till August 10 in the alleged porn films racket case.
According to reports, Raj Kundra was produced before a Mumbai court. The prosecution had informed that the court that it has come across an amount of Rs 1.13 crore belonging to Kundra's company in a private bank account which they wanted to probe further among other things. But, the court declined the prosecution plea for extending his police custody by another seven days, and instead remanded him to judicial custody.
• On July 23, a magistrate also ruled that businessman Raj Kundra and his IT head Ryan Thorpe will remain in police custody till July 27.
• On July 23, Crime Branch officials had reportedly recorded Shilpa Shetty's statement in the case when they had raided the Juhu residence of Shilpa and Raj. According to IANS, the actress has denied her involvement with the company, claiming that she was not aware of the exact content of HotShots and has pointed fingers at Kundra's brother-in-law.
Shilpa also reportedly stated that erotica is different from porn, and Raj is not involved in producing porn content. Sources claim that Shilpa Shetty named Raj Kundra's brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi for running the functioning of the app and its operations. Read more here.
• Actress Sherlyn Chopra took to Twitter on July 22 to share that she was the first person to give a statement to the investigating team of the Maharashtra Cyber Cell.
Further stating that she can't say much considering the matter is subjudice, Sherlyn asked the journalists to get in touch with the cyber cell, requesting them to share some excerpts from her statement.
पिछले कुछ दिनों से कई पत्रकार और मीडिया रिपोर्ट्स मुझे कॉल / वॉट्सएप/ ईमेल कर रहे हैं यह कहकर कि मैं आगे आकर इस विषय पर कुछ कहूँ।— Sherlyn Chopra(@SherlynChopra) July 22, 2021
आप को बता दूँ कि जिस व्यक्ति ने महाराष्ट्र साइबर को सबसे पहले इस विषय पर बयान दिया, वो कोई और नहीं बल्कि मैं हूँ। pic.twitter.com/9xwlOnVeT6
• Actress and model Poonam Pandey, who had reportedly filed a case against Kundra and his associates at Armsprime Media (the company that was reportedly handling her app), has come forward claiming that Raj had leaked her number along with a message "I will strip for you" upon a contractual disagreement in 2019.
In a video message to IANS, Poonam said: "When I said no to signing the contract, he leaked my phone number with a caption, 'Call me now. I will strip for you'. He released this message along with my personal number and broadcast it. I still remember that after that my phone rang non-stop. I got calls from the whole world, including threatening messages.”
Opening up about the contract, Poonam Pandey reportedly said, "The threat was that I had to sign his new contract. Whatever or whenever they said, I'd have to shoot that way or else they would leak my private information. When I said no, my number was leaked on the internet.”
• YouTuber Puneet Kaur took to her Instagram account (@kaurbeautyy) on July 21 to share that Raj Kundra had approached her via direct messaging for his mobile app.
Stating that she could not believe that it was actually him who had sent her that message and thought that it might be a spam message, she wrote on her Instagram story, “Brooooo you OGS remember our verified DM video where he reached out to me for Hotshots? I'm dead.”
In a separate story, she wrote, “I can't even WT* this man was really luring people. We literally thought it was spam when he sent that DM to me? Jesus Christ man rot in jail."
• News agency IANS has reported that Raj Kundra was regularly receiving payments from Hot Hit.
"Just before the porn racket was busted by the police in February, Kundra received Rs 2.7 lakh on February 3 from Hot Hit. Similarly, he received Rs 95,000 on January 23, Rs 1 lakh on January 20, Rs 2 lakh on January 13, and Rs 3 lakh on January 10," said the report, adding that Hot Hit describes itself as "Best Indian movies and web series. Your search comes to an end at HotHit Movies and Originals. To watch our video content you need to subscribe with one of the following plan using: Paykun Payment method and get instant access."
• According to media reports, a statement has been issued on behalf of Gehana Vasisth aka Vandana Tiwari, an alleged player in this racket who was arrested by the Mumbai police a few months ago. The reported statement reads, "The law will take its course. We have full faith in Mumbai police, but they should not mix up porn with erotica or bold content. We have always said that Mumbai police is the best force in the world. The courts will eventually decide during trial as to who are the real culprits and which of the arrested accused were merely used by others. We don't want to comment any more, as Gehana is on bail in the same cases and she does not want to prejudice or impair her right to her personal defence. However, police should investigate fully as there are many more skeletons in the cupboards of the rich and famous (sic)."
The actress also took to Twitter to support Raj Kundra, reportedly saying that none of the films that Raj Kundra has been arrested for were porn films. "They are were just bold films," she wrote, adding that OTT platforms Netflix and Amazon have bolder content than that.
None of the films r porn films, those were just bold films— GEHANA VASISTH ALIAS VANDANA TIWARI (@GehanaVasisth) July 20, 2021
N if u see apps like netflix amazon has more bolder content than this, so 1 need to understand the difference between erotica n porn.n I hv request plz watch those films n then only decide
police has just misinterpreted
• No evidence against Shilpa Shetty: Breaking his silence on whether Shilpa Shetty was involved or not in the alleged case, the Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Milind Bharambe reportedly said that they have not found any evidence against the actress. He also added that the investigation is going on.
Also read | Five other alleged controversies that named Raj Kundra