Mumbai: A local court, while granting bail to businessman Raj Kundra, a key accused in a pornographic films case, noted that the element of inducement, which is the prime ingredient in cheating offences, appears to be missing from the case presented by the prosecution.

Kundra (46) was granted bail on Monday and a detailed order of the court was made available on Tuesday.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S B Bhajipale, in the bail order, also said all servers, laptops and mobile phones of the accused persons and their companies were already in custody of the police and hence there was no possibility of tampering with evidence.

Kundra and his associate and co-accused Ryan Thorpe were granted bail by the court on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. Kundra, the husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, and Thorpe were arrested by the Mumbai police’s crime branch on July 19 in the case which relates to alleged creation of pornographic films and publishing them through mobile apps.

They were booked under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Information Technology Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

The magistrate said all other co-accused in the case are out on bail and hence the applicant (Kundra) cannot be kept behind bars till conclusion of the trial.

If the statements of the witnesses are perused then the element of inducement, which is the prime ingredient of cheating, appears to be missing from the case of the prosecution, the court said in its order.

The police had claimed Raj Kundra and the other accused had lured small-time and struggling actors with a promise of roles in small movies and had later forced them into acting in pornographic films and subsequently uploaded the adult content on mobile apps.

The court, in its bail order, noted that the offences under which Kundra has been booked are not punishable for more than seven years. It further said the police have already filed a charge-sheet in the case.

The businessman and Thorpe were named in a supplementary charge-sheet filed by the police in the court last week.

It is better to mention here that the trial will take its own time and, in such circumstances, it will not be proper to keep the accused in custody, when they are ready to furnish surety for their appearance and to abide by the conditions imposed by the court, the order said.

The court, while granting bail to Kundra, directed him not to leave India without its prior permission and not to threaten any witness in the case.

Kundra, lodged in the Arthur Road jail in central Mumbai under judicial custody, walked out of the prison shortly after 11.30 am on Tuesday after completing requisite formalities. PTI SP RSY

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