Updated: August 18, 2021 8:09:19 pm
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim protection from arrest for a week to businessman Raj Kundra in a case registered by the Mumbai cyber police in 2020. The case was based on a complaint alleging that certain online platforms had published obscene videos as part of their web series.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde was hearing the anticipatory bail plea by Kundra in the 2020 case.
Kundra, who is behind bars in a similar case related to adult films filed by the Mumbai police crime branch, approached the HC after the sessions court rejected his pre-arrest bail plea earlier this month.
In his plea against the sessions court order, Kundra said his name did not reflect in the FIR filed by the cyber police last year, and that he had given a detailed statement to the police while visiting the investigator’s office on multiple occasions to cooperate with the probe.
He further said he had provided all documents required by the officer concerned, and the statements of prosecution witnesses, too, have been recorded.
Kundra said he had been associated with Armsprime Media Pvt Ltd from February to December 2019 and added that one of the apps, created by the company, called “Hotshots” has nothing to do with pornography, as alleged by the police. Kundra also claimed that he was being falsely implicated in the matter.
Senior counsel Shirish Gupte and advocate Prashant Patil for Kundra argued that the other co-accused in the case, including Sherlyn Chopra and Poonam Pandey, were granted interim protection by the HC and his custodial interrogation was also not required. The lawyers said that since Kundra was protected by the sessions judge till rejection of his pre-arrest bail application, the HC should also grant similar interim relief.
Patil further argued that the offences levelled against Kundra were punishable with less than seven-year imprisonment and, therefore, he deserved protection from arrest.
Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde opposed the plea and submitted that Kundra’s role in the case was different from other accused and therefore he cannot seek protection on the grounds of parity. Shinde sought more time to take instructions to argue on merits of the plea, which the court accepted.
Granting time to prosecution lawyer, the bench passed an order protecting Kundra from arrest in 2020 FIR till next hearing on August 25.
The HC on August 7 had dismissed pleas by Kundra and his associate Ryan Thorpe, who challenged their remand orders, passed by the magistrate court in the adult films case, and sought release from custody.
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