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One more arrested in Raj Kundra porn films case

One more arrested in Raj Kundra porn films case
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Businessman and husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra and one more person named Ryan Tharp have been sent to police custody in connection with the case of creation of pornographic films and publishing them through apps, after the crime branch alleged he was making financial gains through this illegal business, said an official.

The development comes after Raj Kundra and one Ryan Tharp were brought to Mumbai's Esplanade Court earlier today.

Late Monday night, Mumbai Police had arrested Kundra for allegedly producing and broadcasting pornographic films online, six years after the businessman was banned from cricket-related activities over match-fixing charges.

Police announced Kundra's arrest late Monday, calling the 45-year-old "the key conspirator" in a case involving the creation and publication of adult films via internet apps.

The police also claimed there were several WhatsApp chats that revealed Kundra was involved in the financial dealings of the app and its contents.

"We have sufficient evidence regarding this," police said in a press release, adding that investigations were ongoing.

The accused persons took advantage of struggling models, actors and other workers, and made them work in these pornographic movies, the police said, adding that these movies were shot in rented bungalows in Mumbai.

Earlier today, the police arrested one more person in the porn films case. The accused, identified as Ryan Thorpe, was arrested from his office on Monday night along with businessman Raj Kundra after an enquiry into the matter, the police official said.

According to sources, Thorpe was working on a senior position with an app firm.

The police, while seeking maximum custody of Kundra, told the court that the businessman was economically gaining by making and selling pornographic material. In their remand note, the police alleged that the accused persons "made profits in lakhs in this illegal business of making pornographic films and uploading the same via some mobile apps for which subscription fees is taken from viewers".

The police further alleged that the pornographic material was uploaded on an app 'HotShots' that was developed by a company, Arms Prime Pvt Ltd, owned by Kundra. They said another arrested accused Umesh Kamat, a former employee of Kundra, told police that the app was later sold to Kenrin Pvt Ltd, a c owned by Kundra's relative Pradeep Bakshi. The police said they have seized Kundra's mobile phone and its contents need to be scrutinised and also his business dealings and transactions have to be looked into.

They said Kundra's custodial interrogation was required as he had to be confronted with the other accused in the case. Appearing for Kundra, senior counsel Aabad Ponda and advocate Subhash Jadhav opposed the police's plea for remand and said the investigation into the case can be carried out without custodial interrogation. Ponda argued that the police ought to have issued summons to Kundra first and recorded his statement, instead of arresting him directly in the case that was registered in February this year.

An FIR was registered against Kundra after a woman approached the police and made certain allegations in her complaint, another official had said. On that basis, the FIR was registered and the case transferred to the Crime Branch. Kundra was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene abd indecent advertisements and displays), and relevant sections of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, the official said.

The arrest is the latest scandal to hit Kundra, who has two children with Shetty, the 2007 winner of British reality show "Celebrity Big Brother".

In 2015, Kundra was banned for life from all cricket-related activities, following an investigation into match-fixing during his stint as the co-owner with Shetty of the Rajasthan Royals, a franchise in the hugely successful Indian Premier League.

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