The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim protection from arrest to businessman Raj Kundra in a case filed in 2020 in connection with broadcasting of sexually explicit content on an over-the-top, or OTT, platform, Bar and Bench reported. He is accused of being the owner of a mobile application that streamed and distributed the content.
Kundra, who is married to actor Shilpa Shetty, was arrested in a separate case on similar charges on July 19 and is currently in judicial custody in that matter. The First Information Report in this case was filed in February.
The Mumbai police had alleged in the February FIR that Kundra’s company coerced some women into shooting nude pictures and videos by promising to get them opportunities to act in films.
The FIR in the 2020 case was filed by the Cyber Crime department of Mumbai Police in October. In this FIR, he was charged under Sections 292 and 293 (sale of obscene material) of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 66E, 67, 67A (transmission of sexually explicit material) under the Information Technology Act and provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
Kundra had moved a pre-arrest bail plea in the matter.
Kundra’s counsel Advocate Prashant Patil submitted that charges in the FIR filed in the 2021 case are identical to those of the previous matter. He said there was apprehension that Kundra will be arrested in the 2020 case as well.
Patil also contended that Kundra was falsely implicated in the matter and that all other accused in the case were already out on bail.
Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde, however, submitted that Kundra’s role was different from the other accused. She sought time to consider the merits of Kundra’s plea. The court granted her time till the next hearing on August 25 and gave Kundra protection from arrest till then.
In the 2021 case, however, the Bombay High Court on August 7 rejected petitions by Kundra and his associate Ryan Thorpe seeking release from judicial custody.