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Mumbai: No element of inducement against Raj Kundra to prove cheating, says court

“Only on the ground that further investigation is going on, the accused cannot be kept behind bars till conclusion of the trial,” additional chief metropolitan magistrate S B Bhajipale said.

Raj Kundra comes out of Arthur Road jail after being granted bail by Mumbai court in connection with pornography case, in Mumbai, Tuesday, September 21, 2021. (PTI)

In its detailed order granting bail to Raj Kundra, the court observed that there is no “element of inducement” seen in the case against him to prove cheating. Kundra, who was arrested in July in connection with creation and uploading of pornographic films on mobile applications, was granted bail by a metropolitan magistrate’s court Monday. He was released from Arthur Road jail Tuesday.

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch had alleged that the victim women were cheated by being told that they were acting in a web series. “…if the statements of witnesses are perused, then the element of inducement which is the prime ingredient of cheating appears to be missing from the case of the prosecution,” the court said.

Along with Kundra, Ryan Thorpe, the IT head of Kundra’s company, was also granted bail. In their bail pleas filed through lawyers Prashant Patil and Swapnil Ambure, the two had said that the Hotshots mobile app had nothing to do with pornography and the chargesheet did not state that the “victims” were coerced or threatened by Kundra into filming or broadcasting “erotic content”.

The court also considered that the other previously arrested accused were granted bail. “In such circumstances, only on the ground that further investigation is going on, the accused cannot be kept behind bars till conclusion of the trial,” additional chief metropolitan magistrate S B Bhajipale said. The court also took into consideration that the maximum punishment under the sections invoked against Kundra is not more than seven years.

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The court also said that the Mumbai Police had recorded statements of witnesses before a magistrate and also had in its custody server, laptops and phones connected to the case. Due to this, it said there is no possibility of tampering of evidence, an apprehension shown by the police while opposing Kundra’s bail. The police had last week filed a chargesheet running into 4,000 pages naming 64 witnesses.

The court also considered a statement of a witness claiming that transactions are alleged to have taken place between two companies but allegations of exchange of amount are not levelled against the accused in the chargesheet.

First published on: 21-09-2021 at 07:32:42 pm
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