A Mumbai court on Monday granted bail to businessman Raj Kundra and his associate Ryan Thorpe in a case related to broadcasting sexually explicit content on an over-the-top platform, Bar and Bench reported.
Kundra and Thorpe have been granted bail two months after they were arrested in the case. While the former was arrested on July 19, the latter was arrested on July 20.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SB Bhajipale directed Kundra to submit a bail bond of Rs 50,000.
The bail order comes five days after the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police on Wednesday filed a supplementary chargesheet against Kundra, Thorpe and two others. The Crime Branch had filed the first chargesheet in the case naming nine accused in April.
The police have alleged that Kundra’s company had coerced women into shooting pictures and videos in the nude by promising to give them opportunities to act in films.
The businessman, in his bail petition, contended that the supplementary chargesheet did not contain even a single piece of evidence against him, according to PTI.
He also said that there was no evidence of him being actively involved in creating the content. He claimed that he was being made a scapegoat.
During the hearing on Monday, the public prosecutor argued that the filing of the supplementary chargesheet does not imply that bail should be granted.
However, the magistrate allowed the applications of Kundra and Thorpe.
The supplementary chargesheet has named Kundra as the main facilitator in the case. The Crime Branch said that they found proof against the businessman after technical analysis, getting statements of witnesses and through documents confiscated from his office.
The charges against Kundra
The Mumbai Police have booked Kundra under Sections 354(C) (voyeurism), 292 (sale of obscene content) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
The first information report also invoked sections of the Information Technology Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, which deal with transmitting sexually explicit material.
The police have alleged that Kundra and Thorpe took advantage of young women from poor families and coerced them to appear in sexually explicit videos. The women said they were cheated as they were given nominal compensations, or sometimes not paid at all, said the police, according to PTI.
Kundra and Thorpe had also allegedly destroyed WhatsApp chats and e-mail that contained crucial evidence in the case, according to the police.
The police have alleged that Kundra had sold a video streaming app that created pornographic content to his brother-in-law Sandeep Bakshi, who lives in the United Kingdom.
Last month, Kundra had argued in the court that his arrest was illegal as he was not given a notice to appear before the police first. He has also contended that the videos mentioned in the case were not pornographic as they did not explicitly show sexual acts.