Mumbai: Porn racket: Over 20L registered on app in one year

The Mumbai police investigating the alleged pornographic video racket suspects that the application at the heart of controversy the application ‘Hotshots’ allegedly developed by celebrity businessman Raj Kundra had gained over 20 lakh of registrations in short span of a year. The crime branch officials attributes it's success to pandemic when entire country was under strict lockdown. Hotshots was launched in August 2019. However, its actual popularity grew in the lockdown and in a couple of months, the apps registration crossed 20 lakh. Amidst the pandemic its daily registration crossed 5,000, said a crime branch official.

Explaining the apps success a crime branch officials claimed that, during pandemic entire country was under strict lockdown which helped in increasing its registrations however after both Google and Apple removed it from their platform in late 2020 over violation of terms the registrations started decreasing drastically. As plan B the group was planning to launch another application named 'BollyFlame' focusing on live streaming from its models however their plan did not materialised after the authorities started closing on them for violation of laws.

According to the Mumbai police, Kundra formed a company named Arms Prime that developed Hotshots and sold it to a UK-based company Kernin for $25,000 to his brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi. The app was developed on build and transfer basis, later Kundra parted ways from Arms Prime. Following Kundra's arrest on Monday, the crime branch have seized around 100 pornographic related clips from his office in Andheri and also seized server containing tera bytes of data. "We are scrutinising the data and also carrying out a forensic audit," said Milind Bharambe, joint CP, crime branch.

Kundra who was granted two days of police custody will be produced before the court on Friday along with another accused Ryan Thorpe, IT head of his company.

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