The Bombay High Court on Saturday dismissed the pleas filed by Raj Kundra and his aide Ryan Thorpe challenging their arrest and seeking immediate release from Arthur Road Jail over a pornographic racket busted this year.
A Single Bench of Justice A.S. Gadkari was hearing a petition filed by Mr. Kundra, businessman and husband of actor Shilpa Shetty. The court conducted a physical hearing.
Mr. Kundra and his aide were arrested on July 19 by the Property Cell of Mumbai Crime Branch. They challenged the magistrate’s order rejecting their bail applications on July 28. The magistrate court had held, “If released, they will hamper the investigation and the alleged offence is detrimental to the health of society.”
Chief Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai had previously argued that initially a notice was issued by the Mumbai police to Mr. Kundra under Section 41A (notice of appearance before police officer) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which he refused but Mr. Thorpe accepted.
Ms. Pai said Mr. Kundra was the admin of Hotshot (the app used to produce and circulate pornographic content). He refused to sign the notice and did not cooperate at all.
She added a lot of incriminating material was found against the accused and they were arrested because they had deleted messages from Whatsapp groups, thereby destroying evidence. Therefore, Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was added.
She went on to say that in the office laptop there was a hard disk that had over 100 porn videos and Mr. Kundra’s laptop had a film script with sexual content.
Senior advocate Aabad Ponda, appearing for Mr. Kundra, contended his client was not issued a proper notice and was arrested in the garb of recording his statement.
The duo was booked under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 292 (sale, etc., of obscene books, etc.) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and Indecent Representation of Women Act.
Mr. Kundra has filed for bail before the City Civil and Sessions Court, which will be heard on August 10.