Did Raj Kundra bribe Crime Branch officers to evade arrest?
Raj Kundra was arrested on Monday by Mumbai Police for being a "key conspirator" in a pornography racket that spanned across borders. Now as per recent reports, the businessman allegedly bribed several officials of the Crime Branch with Rs. 25 lakh to evade arrest till now. This came to the fore after the kingpin of this racket, identified in March, complained about the same.
As per Mid-Day, Arvind Srivastava aka Yash Thakur, the kingpin and wanted accused, sent an email to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in March stating about the bribe. The ACB sent it to the Mumbai Police chief's office next month. The mail, filed by Srivastava's US-based firm, Fliz Movies (previously known as Nuefliks), also contained screenshots of WhatsApp chats mentioning about the bribe.
However, the screenshots did not apparently mention Kundra anywhere. The mail by Nuefliks also claimed that a "demand, through a police informer, to pay an equal amount was also made to the firm." For now, Mumbai Police has not commented on this matter.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Milind Bharambe told the publication, "After Raj Kundra's name surfaced in the case, the Crime Branch investigated further and gathered strong evidence. Only then he was arrested and named in the chargesheet." When asked about the bribe issue through text, he shot back saying, "I don't like questions and answers sessions. Your choice. You stop or I block."
Meanwhile, Kundra's lawyer Abad Ponda said in court on Tuesday that the video content provided in apps like HotShots cannot "be classified as porn." "The IT Act sections can't be read with IPC sections, but here police has done this. Section 67A of IT Act talks about sexually explicit acts. Only the actual...intercourse can be considered porn. Rest all is just vulgar content."
Ponda also said that the arrest wasn't made "as per law," because the investigation started after Kundra was nabbed. "Police custody should be an exception and not a norm. Arrest should be made only when the investigation cannot move further without the arrest," he said.
The 45-year-old, who has been sent to police custody till tomorrow along with his aide Ryan Tharp, had applied for an anticipatory bail. As per investigation, he has been listed as a "director" in as many as nine companies. Also, during lockdown, his income per day went up to Rs. 6-8L from the usual Rs. 2-3L that he earned at the start, said cops.