It came as a shocker when Mumbai Police arrested Raj Kundra in an alleged porn films racket case this week and sent him to jail. The businessman, who is the husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, was produced before the court on Tuesday and thereafter sent into police custody till July 23. Here’s how the businesman and porn films racket was exposed:
How did the investigation start?
The probe into the entire affair of Kundra and the porn film racket started in February 2021. The Malvani police station blew the lid off by lodging a complaint about the production and shooting of pornographic content at some bungalows in the distant Madh Island and nearby places in the coastal areas of Malad in the north-west Mumbai. The police probe made surprising revelations of how ambitious actors coming to Mumbai from all over India were lured with job offers in films, web shows and other similar projects.
The Malvani police had filed FIRs on the basis of complaints received from two women, while another one woman had submitted a complaint at the Lonavla Police Station, around 120km from Mumbai.
Later the police found WhatsApp groups, e-mail exchanges, accounting details and some pron films after a search of Kundra’s Mumbai office.
How the pornographic content was distributed?
After making the content, the two companies — Viaan and Kendrin — reportedly made them available on mobile apps, offering subscriptions akin to the mainstream OTT platforms, advertise them on social media, all of which were illegal as pornography in any form is banned in India. Armsprime Media, the company at the centre of the controversy led to the arrest of Kundra on charges of making pornographic content and publishing them through mobile applications. It has two directors — Sanjay Kumar Tripathy and Saurabh Kushwah.
Armsprime Media Private Limited, a private company was incorporated in February 2019. It is classified as a non-government company with an authorised share capital of Rs 10 lakh, the company is involved in sporting and other recreational activities. The police have gathered evidence that established connections between the business entities.
In a statement, Armsprime Media shared that Kundra has no stake in the company in today’s time. “Mr Kundra resigned as a director in Dec 2019 and has no stake or association with Armsprime Media today. APM actively cooperated with the Property Cell, Crime Branch, Mumbai Police and handed over all documents that were sought by the Police. APM continues to offer full cooperation to the investigating agencies.”
What is HotShots app?
During the investigation, it came to light that a company named Armsprime had prepared the app (Hotshots) for Kenrin and there were individual apps. HotShots app has cropped up as one of the apps used in the porn films racket. The app is described as the “world’s first 18+ app” showcasing some of the hottest models and celebs globally in exclusive photos, short films and hot videos — implying soft-to-hard porn.
Who all have been arrested so far?
After the investigations conducted by the Malvani Police and later by the Crime Branch-CID and Property Cell, at least 12 arrests have been made so far, including Kundra and Ryan J. Tharpe.
The nine persons arrested earlier were TV actress Gehna Vashisht, 32, Yasmin R. Khan, 40, Monu Joshi, 28, Pratibha Nalavade, 33, M. Atif Ahmed, 24, Dipankar P. Khasnavis, 38, Bhanusurya Thakur, 26, Tanvir Hashmi, 40, and Umesh Kamath, 39.
— with inputs from agencies