Businessman and Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra, 45, was arrested by Mumbai Police on Monday (July 19) for allegedly being a “key conspirator in a case related to the production and publishing of pornographic films through mobile apps. Production of porn is illegal in India. At the centre of the controversy is the HotShots app, which has now been removed from Google and Apple app store.
What is the HotShots app?
The HotShots app is reportedly described as the “world’s first 18+ app” showcasing some of the “hottest” models and celebs globally in exclusive photos, short films and hot videos – implying soft-to-hard porn.
The app’s Android Application Package (APK) is still available on several websites. The app’s description on stores read, “HD videos & short movies with unmatched exposure” and promised “private content from hot photoshoots, short movies, and experience of the lifestyle of celebrities from all over the world”. Moreover, the app also allegedly offered services like live communication with “some of the hottest models around the world”.
Subscription and contests:
The original content on the app was only accessible for paying subscribers only, as per media reports. Also, going by some social media posts it seemed as if the app also hosted a Miss HotShot contest 2019, with women asking netizens to download the app and vote for them.
The Raj Kundra case:
Raj Kundra and his brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi are the alleged masterminds of an international porn films racket perpetrated through their content production companies based in India and the United Kingdom. Kundra is the owner of Viaan Industries Ltd, jointly promoted by him and his wife Shilpa Shetty, while Bakshi – a British citizen, who is married to Kundra’s sister – is the chairman of London-based Kenrin Ltd.
As per the Mumbai Police, the Crime Branch registered a case related to pornographic films in February. It was allegedly found that new actors were promised roles in web series and short stories and were asked to do bold scenes in auditions. “They (young aspiring actresses) were called for auditions and after selection, were made to do bold scenes, which went onto semi-nude and then full-nude shoots. Some of them strongly opposed this and had approached the police,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Milind Bharambe said.
“During a detailed investigation, it was found that Raj Kundra’s company, Viaan, had a tie-up with a London-based company Kenrin that owns the controversial mobile application Hotshots. All nude content created in Mumbai was published on Hotshots, which was operated from Mumbai,” he added.
After making the content, the two companies — Viaan and Kenrin — apparently made them available on mobile apps, offering subscriptions akin to the mainstream OTT platforms, advertise them on social media, all of which were illegal as pornography in any form is banned in India.
The police also said that after taking the court’s permission, the offices of Raj Kundra were searched and a few clips were found as well.
(With Agency inputs)