Porn film case: Raj Kundra moves Bombay High Court challenging police remand

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While Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband was sent to police custody till July 27, Raj Kundra filed a plea in Bombay High Court pointing to a procedural mistake done by Mumbai police while arresting him.

The 45-year-old businessman is seeking grant of relief “who is deeply aggrieved by the illegal arrest in complete violation of the mandate of Section 41A of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code).”

Kundra’s plea, filed through advocate Subhash Jadhav, says that around 4pm on July 19, Mumbai police carried out search at the office premises and pursuant to their search the sleuths requested Kundra to accompany them to their Byculla, Crime Branch office to record his statement.

Kundra submits that “without following the due process of law under the provisions of Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as mandated by the Supreme Court from time to time, police arrested Kundra by calling him under the grab of recording statement.”

Kundra claims it was after his arrest that he was given a 41A notice. Kundra says that after he was produced before the Esplanade magistrate court, his lawyers, Jadhav and Abaad Ponda, had submitted to the court opposing police custody and immediate release on the ground of violation of 41A CrPC. But even after hearing the parties at length Kundra was remanded to police custody till July 23 which is in “complete violation of the provisions of law.”

The plea states that the Magistrate failed to appreciate that maximum punishment that can be fetched for the offences that are charged cumulatively, is up to 7 years.

“It is now well settled by three pronouncements of the Supreme Court of India that in such cases, it is completely illegal to arrest the said person/accused without complying with the requirements of Sections 41(1)(b) and Section 41A of the CrPC,” says the plea.

Kundra’s plea further points to Section 67A of IT Act and says that it “can never apply to the present case much less the case of the petitioner. If the entire material that they speak of is considered, it is clear that the same does not depict direct explicit sexual acts and sexual intercourse but shows only material in the form of short movies which are lascivious or appeal to the prurient interest of the persons at best.”

With this, Kundra prays that order of remand passed by the Magistrate be set aside and quashed by the high Court and that he should be set free.

Jadhav explains that the petition filing procedure due to the pandemic entails that papers are put in quarantine and then the office procedures start so the hearing in the case can happen only next week.

WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN RAJ KUNDRA AND PORN FILMS RACKET?
According to police, Raj Kundra has been allegedly operating a pornography racket since August 2019. They also claimed that there were several WhatsApp chats that revealed Raj Kundra was involved in the financial dealings of apps and their contents.

Kundra’s Viaan Industries had a tie-up with London-based company Kenrin, which owns ‘HotShots’ app, allegedly involved in publishing pornographic films, police said. Kenrin is owned by the brother-in-law of Kundra, they said.

The accused persons took advantage of struggling models, actors and other workers, and made them work in these pornographic movies, the police said, adding these movies were shot in rented bungalows in Mumbai.

Accused of being the “key conspirator” of the case, Raj Kundra was arrested on Monday and remanded in police custody till July 23 by a Mumbai court on Tuesday. He was booked under sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) besides relevant sections of the IT Act and Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

In all, 11 people have been arrested so far in the case, the police have said.

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