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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cops to Bombay HC: Probe agency can’t be mute spectator while accused destroy evidence

Kundra, along with his associate Ryan Thorpe who has also been arrested, has sought interim bail pending hearing of his plea seeking quashing of the case.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: August 1, 2021 12:11:49 am
Raj Kundra, Raj Kundra plea, Raj Kundra porn app case, Raj kundra latest news, Raj Kundra adult films case, Mumbai court, Mumbai news, Mumbai latest news, india news, Raj Kundra news, indian expressRaj Kundra was arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with making pornographic content available through mobile apps. (Express photo)

THE BOMBAY High Court on Saturday adjourned hearing on a plea filed by businessman Raj Kundra alleging that his arrest in the adult films case was illegal as he was not served legal notices as per law.

Kundra, along with his associate Ryan Thorpe who has also been arrested, has sought interim bail pending hearing of his plea seeking quashing of the case.

Mumbai Police told HC that 51 pornographic movies have been seized from the accused along with material from personal laptops, cellphones and storage devices while they were streaming porn on cellphone applications HotShots and Bollyfame.

They police added that it could not be a “mute spectator” while the accused were destroying evidence and arrested them to prevent the same.

On July 19, the police had searched Kundra’s office in Mumbai and found details about Hotshots, including the number of subscribed customers, payments received, account details and obscene videos, said Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai, appearing for Mumbai Police.

She added that police also found a message from Kundra’s brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi, who owns Kenrin Private Limited in the UK and is named as a wanted accused in the case. As per police, Kenrin owned Hotshots in which pornographic content was uploaded.

The police added that Kundra and Thorpe, his IT technician, were duly served notice under Section 41A — mandating his appearance before a police officer to avoid unnecessary arrest — of the CrPC. While Thorpe accepted the notice, Kundra refused.

“Instead of cooperating, they started deleting content from WhatsApp groups and chats. Thus, they started destroying evidence. When an accused starts destroying evidence, investigating authorities cannot be mute spectators, they have to prevent them. Therefore, in order to prevent them, they were arrested,” Pai argued.

She added that thereafter, a new charge – Section 201 (punishment for causing disappearance of evidence) under IPC – was added against the accused.

The HC posted the matter for physical hearing on Monday.

Earlier, senior advocate Aabad Ponda, representing Kundra, had told the court in case the police notice was not acknowledged by Kundra, as per criminal procedure, the investigating officer was required to avail an order from the magistrate to arrest the petitioner, which was not done.

Advocate Abhinav Chandrachud, appearing for Thorpe, had said that while his client had complied with the police notice, his arrest was illegal.

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