Following the arrest of Bollywood actress Shila Shetty's husband Raj Kundra by Mumbai Police for his involvement in the production and distribution of pornographic films, the controversy's main root is in the streaming application called "Hot Shots" that has now been removed from Google and Apple app store.
Although the application is no longer available for download, copies of the app's Android Application Package (APK) are available on various platforms and websites.
What is HotShots?
The HotShots 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.
According to the application's latest version, the app offered "HD videos and short movies with unmatched exposure" and promised "private content from hot photoshoots, short movies, and experience of the lifestyle of celebrities from all over the world". The app also promoted services like live communication with "some of the hottest models around the world". The original content was accessible for paying subscriber-only.
Some old posts on social media suggest that the app also hosted a "Miss Hot Shots contest 2019" where users could vote for their favourite contestants.
The app was taken forward by Raj Kundra's company Armers Prime Media Ltd. The app was then sold to Kenrin Ltd, and a transaction of $25,000 was made. Viaan Industries had an agreement with Kenrin about the responsibility of content creation and money for that used to be transferred to Kundra's firm by the UK-based entity.
The Mumbai Police have recovered incriminating evidences like several HotShot films, video clips, WhatsApp chats, etc. during the investigation.
Arrested in the case, Raj Kundra was on Tuesday remanded in police custody till July 23 by a Mumbai court, after the crime branch alleged he was making financial gains through this illegal business. The police claimed there were several WhatsApp chats that revealed Kundra (45), the husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, was involved in the financial dealings of the app and its contents.
The police also arrested another person, identified as Ryan Thorpe, who was working on a senior position with an app firm, from his office along with Kundra after an enquiry into the matter, an official said. Kundra and Thope were produced before a magistrate's court here which remanded both of them in police custody till July 23.
Earlier, the police on Monday said Kundra appears to be the "key conspirator" of the case. There was a case registered with the Mumbai Crime Branch in February 2021 about creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some Apps, a senior police official had said.
An FIR was registered against Kundra after a woman approached the police and made certain allegations in her complaint, another official had said.