Didn’t know about Raj Kundra’s business, says wife Shilpa Shetty

In her statement to the property cell, Shetty claimed she wasn’t aware of the purported pornographic racket run by her husband and informed police that she was not aware of the Bollyfame app or that pornographic films were made for Hotshots app through Viaan Industries and sent to Kenrin company of Pradip Bakshi
Raj Kundra. (HT archive)
Raj Kundra. (HT archive)
Updated on Sep 16, 2021 05:59 PM IST
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ByVinay Dalvi

Businessman Raj Kundra tried to hide his activities relating to pornographic filming apps and tried to distance himself from the racket when his wife, actor Shilpa Shetty, confronted him about the arrest of Viaan Industries’ employee Umesh Kamat, statement of the 46-year-old actor to the property cell of the Mumbai crime branch has revealed.

Umesh Kamat and Vandana Tiwari aka Gehna Vashisht had independently made and sold some pornographic short films, Kundra told Shilpa in February 2021 when the actor confronted him about Kamat’s arrest by the property cell.

In her statement to the property cell, Shetty claimed she wasn’t aware of the purported pornographic racket run by her husband and informed police that she was not aware of the Bollyfame app or that pornographic films were made for Hotshots app through Viaan Industries and sent to Kenrin company of Pradip Bakshi (London-based husband of Kundra’s sister).

In the statement recorded on July 23 -- four days after Kundra’s arrest, she also claimed that she was not aware of her husband’s business activities.

Also Read | Shilpa visits Vaishno Devi as chargesheet is filed against husband Raj Kundra

The statement forms part of the 1,400-page charge sheet filed by the property cell on Wednesday against Kundra, his company’s IT head Ryan Thorpe, and two wanted accused -- Yash Thakur alias Arvind Shrivastava, a Singapore resident, and Kundra’s brother-in-law Pardeep Bakshi, who is accused of uploading pornographic films made in Mumbai and adjoining areas using youngsters who flock Bollywood trying their luck in the film and television industry.

The charge sheet also contains some data seized from Thorpe’s laptop, indicating that they were expecting a profit of USD 6.96 lakh this year and USD 53.20 lakh the next year.

Both Kundra and Thorpe were arrested on July 19, shortly after the police raided office of Viaan Industries and allegedly seized some incriminating material.

Police claimed the businessman set up a company, Armsprime Media Pvt Ltd., which developed a mobile phone application, “Hotshots”, and sold it to London-based Kenrin Pvt Ltd, owned by his brother-in-law. Police claimed that Kundra used the app to upload pornographic videos shot in and around Mumbai for paid viewership of the app.

The property cell alleged that Kundra was one who controlled the operation of the app and had earned over 1.17 crore between August and December last year by means of subscription fee collected from Apple App Store users of his mobile application. They earned 20.24 lakh in three months - from August to October 2019 - from Google play store subscribers of their pornographic app, Hotshots.

Police claimed they had found 51 obscene videos at Kundra’s office in Andheri which included 35 videos with Hotspots logo and 16 with logo of BollyFame app, which the businessman had got developed after Apple and Google removed Hotshots from their respective app stores and from YouTube.

Property cell of the Mumbai crime branch registered a case in connection with the pornographic racket on February 5, 2021, when it raided a bungalow at Madh area and arrested five persons, including two women engaged in shooting a pornographic film. Police also claimed to have rescued a young woman, who was allegedly lured into acting in short film.

The police arrested nine persons in February 2021, shortly after the racket was busted and has filed charge sheet against them on April 3.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021