The investigation into the pornographic video racket in which celebrity businessman Raj Kundra was arrested earlier this week has allegedly revealed that Kundra and his teams were planning to focus on live streaming of videos from his upcoming application to avoid scrutiny of Google and Apple, which had already banned the application 'Hotshots' from their platforms for violation of terms.
The details of live streaming of videos allegedly emerged from WhatsApp chats between Kundra and his former aide Umesh Kamat who was arrested in the case in February and is currently out on bail.
Crime Branch sources said they believe Kundra and his team wanted to focus on live streaming by models on his upcoming application Bollyfame (BF) instead of shooting movies and uploading them later.
In one of their chats, Kundra wrote to Kamat, “Future is live content as screen recording not permitted so won't matter movies go all out, squeeze dry and sell the old contents fast to recover the 50 L (sic)”. The said discussion between the two took place on November 10, last year when 7 other OTT platforms owners were summoned by Maharashtra Cyber for allegedly showing pornographic content.
In the same chats, Kamat allegedly asked Kundra to remove all the extreme bold content for the time being and find a way to sustain Hotshots. Kamat allegedly added that even if they removed extreme bold content, that wouldn't affect them much as movie revenues were barely ₹15,000-20,000 daily. Replying to this, Kundra allegedly said that the future was live content. At the start of the conversation, Kundra thanked Kamat for planning BF.
The BF app was supposed to go live on Google and Apple Phone in December last year. However, the plans got delayed as agencies started tightening the screw on apps and OTT platforms for violating norms.
Police officers said the business flourished in the lockdown even though the app was removed from Play Store in November 2020 and from App Store in June 2020. The crime branch has allegedly found large transactions between Kundra's Viaan industries and that of Kenrin, a UK based company that owned the HotShots application. "So far ₹ 7.5 crore of the accused persons and their associated companies have been freezed, and being treated as proceeds of crime, " said Milind Bharambe, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime)
Kundra was arrested by the crime branch on Monday for his alleged involvement in production and distribution of pornographic films.
These films were published on the application HotShots, owned by Kundra’s brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi. Police said Kundra's company Arms Prime Media developed HotShots and sold it to Bakshi for $ 25,000 on build and transfer policy. Kundra later parted ways from Arms Prime as well.
Even though Kundra sold the app, its management, content generation, accounting and piracy related issues allegedly continued to be handled by Kamat from Kundra's office in Andheri.