Raj Kundra bail: Trial will take its own time, says court

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 11:16 PM IST
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Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty along with her husband Raj Kundra spotted outside the new Bastian Restaurant, at Lower Panel in Mumbai on Thursday. | ANI

A Magistrate Court, which granted bail on Monday to businessman Raj Kundra in a pornography case, observed that the trial will take its own time. In such circumstances, it noted, it will not be proper to keep the accused in custody.

The court said Kundra is ready to abide by the bail conditions and the investigation has been completed (the chargesheet was filed on September 15). The court relied on an apex court order, where it had observed that the accused cannot be kept behind bars for an inconsiderable period when the investigation is completed. The magistrate said in the order that, only on the grounds that further probe is ongoing, the accused cannot be kept behind bars till the conclusion of the trial. It added that the offences do not provide for imprisonment for more than seven years.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SB Bhajipale further said that the element of inducement, which is the prime ingredient of cheating, appears to be missing from the case of the prosecution. The order stated that it cannot be said that there is a possibility of tampering evidence, as the investigating officer has taken care to record the statement of witnesses before a magistrate. Moreover, the server, laptops and mobiles of Viaan Industries are already in the officer’s custody.

The court referred to the statement of witness Megha Jaiswal, an accountant at Kundra’s firm Viaan Industries. It said it appears her statement was recorded to connect the accused with the transactions of Viaan Industries. “However, from her statement, it can be gathered that transactions took place between Kenrin and HotShots. Out of the said transactions, there was an exchange of amount. However, the exchange of amount is not an offence levelled against the accused in the present chargesheet.”

The crime branch has accused Kundra’s firm Armsprime Media Private Limited of developing the HotShots application and broadcasting obscene content. The application was later sold to his brother-in-law Pradip Bakshi’s UK firm Kenrin. However, Kundra managed the application for a fee.

The 45-year-old, through his advocate Prashant Patil and Swapnil Ambure, claimed bail, saying he was falsely implicated in the case.

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