“obscene and bold films" were found on two apps by police
The Bombay High Court (HC) has rejected Raj Kundra’s plea challenging his “illegal” arrest and remand in jail for the alleged “production and streaming of pornographic content” via apps.
The plea of the co-accuser Ryan Thorpe was also rejected by the court on Saturday, August 7, 2021.
Shilpa Shetty’s husband, Raj Kundra, was seeking immediate release from custody further to raising a contention about the violation of mandatory provisions under the criminal law related to the arrest.
Kundra stated that according to Section 41A (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure she should’ve been issued with a summons before his arrest.
However, the court responded by rejecting this plea saying there was nothing wrong with the magistrate’s court order which led to his arrest on July 19, 2021.
Justice Ajay Gadkari of the Bombay High Court dismissed the petitions put forward by Kundra and Thorpe and stated that the arrest and remand in prison conform to the law.
Kundra was first taken into custody on July 20, 2021, after appearing before the chief metropolitan magistrate at Esplanade Court SB Bhajipale.
This followed the second remand in police custody on July 23, 2021. Then the Esplanade court sent him to judicial custody on July 27, 2021.
Kundra then filed a bail plea on July 29, 2021, which was subsequently rejected. He challenged the ail rejection in front of the Sessions court.
The offences allegedly committed by Kundra attract a maximum seven-year prison sentence.
According to the Times of India, Aruna Pai, the public prosecutor responded to the pleas by submitting a police affidavit in front of the HC.
The affidavit stated that when the police visited Kundra’s office to search the premises on July 19, 2021, Kundra started to delete WhatsApp groups and messages on the app, therefore, destroying evidence.
This was challenged on behalf of Kundra his defence on August 2, 2021. Senior counsel Aabad Ponda with advocate Subhash Jadhav argued that the claim by police regarding this destruction of evidence was “ridiculous” and an “afterthought”, as there was no mention of this on the record.
“It does not change the position that there is no record of deletion (on July 19).”
Pai who is against the pleas of Kundra and Thrope added that “obscene and bold films” were found on two apps by police on July 19, 2021. She said Thorpe accepted the notice but Kundra failed to cooperate and resisted police arrest for the evidence found and deleting the data.
Ponda argued that if the notice was not accepted by Kundra the police should’ve sought the court’s permission of any arrest by the police according to section 41A (4).
He said the police case was “completely falsified’’ since, on the seizure record (punchnama), it shows that the “mobile is in custody of the police. This can be discerned from common sense as well as a bare perusal of the items seized on 19.07.2021.”
With one laptop, two hard disks and one mobile phone being taken according to the punchnama, Ponda said: “If this is so, then necessarily, the Petitioner (Kundra) cannot delete data or WhatsApp groups or WhatsApp chats.”
Despite the arguments, the HC rejected the pleas as reported by the India Express, saying:
“It would lead to a conclusion that the arrest of the petitioners and remand to custody by the metropolitan magistrate dated July 20 is within the conformity of the provisions of law. The impugned order of the magistrate does not suffer any error which would require any interference by this court.”
Kundra and Thrope’s main contention related to the case is that the content seized is not porn, it is adult content, that can be even found on OTT platforms.
However, the case continues with the several attempts of bail being denied further to their arrest for involvement in the production of pornography. Hence, meaning Kundra will continue to stay in jail based on the judgement by the HC.