Arrested Raj Kundra, Thorpe to prevent further destruction of evidence: Police to Bombay HC

Published on Jul 29, 2021 11:32 PM IST

The Mumbai Police responded to the petition filed by arrested businessman Raj Kundra on Thursday and informed the Bombay high court (HC) there was nothing illegal in the arrest of Kundra and co-accused Ryan Thorpe and added that the two were arrested to prevent further destruction of evidence.

Raj Kundra had claimed that his arrest was illegal on the grounds that proper procedure was not followed. (HT FILE)
Raj Kundra had claimed that his arrest was illegal on the grounds that proper procedure was not followed. (HT FILE)
By, Mumbai

The Mumbai Police responded to the petition filed by arrested businessman Raj Kundra on Thursday and informed the Bombay high court (HC) there was nothing illegal in the arrest of Kundra and co-accused Ryan Thorpe who were nabbed when they were taken to the crime branch office at Byculla. The police said the arrests were made to prevent Kundra and Thorpe from further destroying or tampering with evidence crucial to the pornographic film racket case.

Kundra, however, argued that as proper Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was not followed by the police during his arrest, making it illegal. He added that new charges including section 201 (punishment for causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code, which were not pressed when he was first arrested, were added as an afterthought. Kundra argued that as he was not informed about the same, his arrest was illegal.

A single judge bench of justice AS Gadkari, while hearing the petitions filed by Kundra and Thorpe, was informed by senior counsel Aabad Ponda that the police had acted vengefully as Kundra had refused to acknowledge the notice they had served him under section 41A of CrPC which mandated his appearance before a police officer to avoid unnecessary arrest.

Kundra’s petition stated that though he had not acknowledged the notice issued by the police based on the FIR registered under various sections of IPC and laws on indecent portrayal of women, he had been present in his office when it was searched and also went to the crime branch. However, he was arrested there without being served a notice, which was a violation of his rights as well as laws which safeguarded a person from arrest when the offence calls for less than seven years of imprisonment.

On July 27, the bench had asked the police to respond to the petition and said it would not grant ex-parte ad-interim relief without hearing the respondents.

On Thursday, the affidavit filed by police inspector Kiran Bidve from property cell, district crime branch, criminal investigation department-Mumbai, said Kundra and his IT technician Thorpe were served a notice under section 41 (A) of CrPC, and while Thorpe accepted the same, Kundra refused to accept the notice during the July 19 search of his office.

Public prosecutor Aruna Pai, for the police, said due procedure was followed by the prosecution and that Kundra was given due notice under section 41A of CrPC.

“The fact that the petitioner refused to accept the said notice implies that he refused to cooperate in the investigation. Apart from this, petitioner and his IT technician Ryan Thorpe also started deleting from the WhatsApp group and chat, thereby causing evidence of the offence to disappear and tamper with such evidence. Hence, in order to prevent them, accused Kundra and Thorpe were brought to property cell, crime branch for probe, and thereby they were arrested,” stated the affidavit.

In view of this submissions, the police in the affidavit sought dismissal of Kundra’s petition.

Ponda, however, argued that under the said section of IPC, if the Investigating officer wanted to arrest Kundra for non-compliance of the notice, he was required to avail an order from magistrate to arrest the petitioner and the same was not followed which led to an arbitrary arrest.

He further said while the police had not made any allegation of destruction of evidence or deletion of WhatsApp messages by the petitioner at the time of arrest or even during the first remand, it was added as an “afterthought”. “The police are trying to show the compliance of the section 41A of CrPC, however, they have committed mockery of the criminal procedure,” Ponda said and sought interim relief to the petitioner.

Advocate Abhinav Chandrachud, for Thorpe, said while his client had complied with the notice issued by police, his arrest was illegal and sought relief from the court.

Shilpa Shetty moves HC seeking restraint on media from publishing defamatory content

Actor Shilpa Shetty filed an interim application in a defamation suit in the Bombay HC seeking restraining orders on various media organisations which, according to the application, are indulging in publishing incorrect, false, malicious and defamatory content against her through various media platforms in connection with the arrest of her husband Raj Kundra in the pornography film racket case.

The interim application stated that the respondents were causing irreparable harm and damage to her reputation with the aim of sensationalising news and attracting viewership. The application seeks an injunction against further publication of completely false, erroneous, derogatory and defamatory information and to remove the objectionable content already uploaded on their websites and portals and issue an unconditional apology for the same.

The respondents include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube which are among the 29 entities named in the application. HC will hear the petition on Friday.

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