The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has filed a 1,500-page chargesheet in the Raj Kundra pornography racket even as Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty Kundra headed to a holy site in India for blessings.
The businessman was arrested on July 19 by the Mumbai Police during the investigation of a pornography case where the 45-year-old stood accused of producing and distributing adult film content through mobile apps such as HotShots and BollyFame.
According to media reports, the chargesheet has been lodged before a Mumbai magistrate court, which also includes a statement by Shetty Kundra claiming she was unaware of her husband’s alleged actions.
“Raj Kundra started Viaan Industries Limited in 2015 and I was one of the directors till 2020 when I resigned due to personal reasons. I am not aware about the Hotshots or BollyFame apps. I was too busy with my own work and hence, not aware about what Raj Kundra was up to,” The Indian Express quoted Shetty Kundra as having told the police, which has been included in the chargesheet filed.
The police has claimed in the chargesheet that Kundra used the Mumbai office of Viaan Industries to run the day-to-day operations of the porn racket. Indian Express quoted an officer as saying that the police has submitted evidence that show Kundra, Thorpe, along with accused Yash Thakur and Sandeep Bakshi (Kundra’s brother-in-law based in the UK) were all directly involved in the pornography racket.
An official further stated there was concrete evidence against Kundra and Thorpe that included porn clips retrieved from the office of Viaan industries, deleted pornographic content, Whatsapp chats and e-mails which stated that Kundra was running the day-to-day operations when it came to uploading pornographic content.
In fact, in July, public prosecutor Aruna Pai stated in court that Kundra and Thorpe were arrested as they had “started deleting WhatsApp group and chats” and hence “destroying evidence” so the police had to arrest them. “When an accused starts destroying evidence the investigating authorities cannot be mute spectators, they have to prevent them. Therefore in order to prevent them, they were arrested,” Pai told the Bombay High Court at the time.
How Raj Kundra came under the police scanner
The case first came to light in February, following a raid at a bungalow in Mumbai’s Madh Island. That same month, Mumbai Police arrested TV actress Gehna Vasisth over her connection to a First Information Report registered that claimed women were being forced to expose for pornographic films. According to the police at the time, several new apps and websites streaming pornographic content had been under scrutiny for luring girls by promising them roles in their ‘web series’ and eventually pressurising them to act in semi-porn films. Vasisth, whose real name is Vandana Tiwari, allegedly shot some of these videos.
Kundra, who currently remains in judicial custody, first appeared in a probe after the Property Cell of Mumbai Police came across the involvement of a UK production company, Kenrin, whose executive, Umesh Kamat was arrested. He was the former employee of Kundra and was accused of uploading at least eight “pornographic and obscene” videos shot by Vasisth on a social media app.
In April, the police filed its first charge sheet in the case against nine persons originally accused, and after subsequent investigations, two more accused, including Kundra, were nabbed. The police claim Kundra, along with Viaan Enterprises’ IT head Ryan Thorpe, were directly involved in creating pornographic content which were published through some paid porn apps.
Kundra has rubbished the allegations and even denied having any links to the alleged porn apps case citing that he had exited from the company in 2019. The charges Kundra is currently facing including Indian Penal Code 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 the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
Meanwhile, Shetty Kundra on Wednesday undertook a pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district where she told reporters she was happy to be there. After a short hiatus following her husband’s arrest, and a public statement where she implored everyone to not inflict a “trial by media” on her and her family, Shetty Kundra has returned to work and seemingly normal life.
There has been speculation that the actress was looking to start legal separation from Kundra. Earlier this month, a report published by Bollywood Hungama stated that Shetty Kundra was planning to move out of her home in Mumbai, along with their two young children. A friend of Shetty Kundra has been quoted in the speculative article that claimed the marriage was on the rocks.
“Raj Kundra’s troubles aren’t going away in a hurry. On the contrary, they seem to be multiplying every week. The disclosure of Raj Kundra’s alleged link with adult content came as much a shock to Shilpa as to the rest of us. She had no clue that the diamonds and duplex were coming from nefarious resources,” said the source to Bollywood Hungama.
Kundra and Shetty Kundra got married in a lavish manner in 2009 and their wedding was attended by several Bollywood A-listers.