India court grants interim protection from arrest to businessman Kundra for a week
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 were publishing 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 High Court after the sessions court rejected his pre-arrest bail plea earlier this month.
In his application, Kundra said his name is not reflected 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 has provided all documents required by the officer concerned, and the statements of prosecution witnesses, too, have been recorded.
Kundra submitted that in February 2020, one of his acquaintances approached him to invest in a venture, named Armsprime Media Pvt Ltd, which provided a digital platform for artists to showcase their talents and interact with clients. He said the venture was to work on a subscription model.
The businessman said he thought the concept of the venture was unique and a genuine business decision based and he invested in it. He claimed he was associated with the company from February to December 2019 only, and had never taken any active part in its contract building or content creation.
Kundra also claimed that one of the apps created by the company called “Hotshots” has nothing to do with pornography, as is alleged by the police. Kundra also claimed he was being falsely implicated in the matter.
The plea further stated that Kundra was arrested in another case under similar sections, and the search by the investigators had led to seizure of electronic devices and other documents which were already in their custody.
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 High Court and his custodial interrogation was also not required.
Patil further argued that the offences levelled against Kundra were punishable with less than 7-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 High Court 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.
Source: The Indian Express