The charge that businessman Raj Kundra and his associate Ryan Thorpe have been booked under was “detrimental to society's health”, and that society's interest in such cases “cannot be overlooked”, the magistrate's court said while rejecting their bail pleas on July 28 in a case related to alleged production and streaming of pornographic content through apps. The court also said that the police had followed the due procedure. The detailed order passed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S B Bhajipale became available on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the sessions court on Tuesday refused to grant interim protection from arrest to actor Gehana Vasisth in connection with pornography racket case. The court has kept the matter on Friday for further hearing and asked the police to file their reply on Vasisth's anticipatory bail plea.
Kundra and Thorpe were arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch on July 19, and are presently in judicial custody. The accused have also moved the Bombay High Court challenging their arrest, pleading that the police did not issue a notice as required under section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the arrest. The HC has reserved its order. But the magistrate noted that the investigating officer (IO) had recorded reason for the arrest, as required. “This court on July 20 (during a remand hearing) came to the conclusion that the arrest of the accused is as per law,” the judge said.
“The IO has already mentioned the reasons for the arrest of both the accused. In such circumstances, it cannot be said that the accused are entitled to bail,” the magistrate said.
As per the IO's reply, Pradeep Bakshi, an accused who is a relative of Kundra, was absconding. Also, a huge amount of data was collected by the police and its analysis was still going on, the court said.
Remanding the accused in judicial custody (as against police custody) does not mean that the probe is over, it said. The accused had deleted some incriminating data, and there was every possibility that they may tamper with evidence if released on bail, the court said.
Meanwhile, investigating the porn film case, Mumbai Police Crime Branch has found a hidden cupboard in Kundra's office in Andheri. According to officials, forensic auditors have been appointed to probe the transactions in all the accounts of the people involved in the case.
The officials had also mentioned that actor Sherlyn Chopra has been called to provide a statement as a witness in the case.
Kundra has been named as the key conspirator by the Mumbai Police which has slapped charges against him under Sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) besides relevant sections of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
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