Police have seized 48 terabytes of adult images and videos in a raid on Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s home as part of a probe into her husband’s alleged connections to illegal porn films.
Officers are now seeking to clone Ms Shetty’s phone and may also bring her in for a second round of questioning.
Husband Raj Kundra, 45, was arrested on July 19 in Mumbai by police who said they have ‘sufficient evidence’ that he is a ‘key conspirator’ in a porn production ring.
Mr Kundra attended the search with officers on Friday and later had his police custody was extended until July 27.
Ms Shetty told police during questioning on Friday she believed Mr Kundra was innocent and claimed his co-accused Pradeep Bakshi was the one involved with mobile app ‘Hotshots’, which allegedly streamed pornographic content.
She said she was ‘unaware of the exact nature of the content’ on the app, but described it as ‘erotica’ rather than pornography.
Police seized 48 terabytes of adult images and videos in a raid on Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s home on Friday as part of a probe into her husband’s alleged connections to illegal porn films
Police are seeking to clone Ms Shetty’s phone and may also bring her in for a second round of questioning in the case against her husband Raj Kundra, 45, who was arrested on July 19 on allegations he is a ‘key conspirator’ in a porn production ring
Investigators are also probing whether Kundra used two or three other apps as part of a porn production ring.
He is accused of luring a woman into making a porn film, using the promise of getting her an acting job.
An investigation was launched on February 3 after a woman complained to the police about being forced to do the movie under the false pretences, according to the Press Trust of India.
Police are now investigating whether Ms Shetty benefitted from her husband’s alleged links to the pornographic film business as part of her position as director of his firm, Viaan.
She resigned from the company after the allegations came to light but police are probing if she received money generated from adult content, E Times reported.
Mr Kundra’s police custody was also extended on Friday until at least July 27.
Raj Kundra, 45, pictured arriving at Mumbai’s Esplanade Court, also known as Killa Court, on Tuesday. It is alleged that Kundra lured a woman into making a porn film, using the promise of getting her an acting job
Bollywood actress and Celebrity Big Brother star Shilpa Shetty (pictured right) has given a statement to Indian police as they investigate her husband’s connections to ‘illegal porn films’. Pictured left: Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra
Kundra allegedly set up a film company with his brother, registering it in the UK to evade Indian cyber laws.
He reportedly left the company and has denied any wrongdoing, while his lawyer has objected to classifying the content as pornography.
In a court hearing on Thursday, Abad Ponda suggested the content in question did not show sexual intercourse, and was just vulgar content.
‘Police is following what web series are doing these days – vulgar content. But that’s not really classified as porn. Nothing in this remand shows that two people actually indulged in act of intercourse. If it’s not actual intercourse, it’s not classified as porn,’ Mr Ponda told the court, according to NDTV.
Publishing or transmitting ‘obscene’ material including porn is illegal in India under a 2015 law and punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Model-actress Poonam Pandey has also reportedly filed a case against the businessman and his colleagues, claiming they illegally used her content.
Kundra and his colleagues deny the claims and say they haven’t received any notice until now.
Police apprehended nine people last week after actors were reportedly ‘forced’ to shoot naked scenes for porn films, which were then released or streamed on apps.
Another line of police enquiry are the financial transactions of company called Kernin that were allegedly funnelled through Mr Kundra’s company called Viaan. They were flagged during investigations, sources had told NDTV.
The police are now searching through statements from Mr Kundra’s bank account, as well as transactions made between Viaan and Kernin, the sources said.
Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty’s (left) husband Raj Kundra (right) was arrested on Monday by Mumbai Police for ‘key conspirator’ role in a pornography-related case
NDTV reported that it was told investigators found a money trail led them to an account held with United Bank for Africa belonging to a cricket betting firm called Mercury International, from which funds have been sent to Mr Kundra’s Yes Bank account.
According to the Times of India, Mumbai Police told the court: ‘Police suspect that money earned from pornography was used for online betting. This is why transactions between Raj Kundra’s Yes bank account and United Bank of Africa account need to be investigated.’
It is just the latest scandal to hit Kundra, who was banned from all cricket-related activities in 2015 following claims of match fixing during his time as owner of the Rajasthan Royals alongside wife Shilpa, with whom he has two children.
Shilpa, a hugely successful Bollywood actress in her own right, shot to fame in Britain during the 2007 series of Celebrity Big Brother when she was racially abused by Jade Goody and other contestants.
The actress eventually won the series, and then reconciled with Jade during the British reality star’s battle with cervical cancer the following year.
Back in 2007, Shilpa shot to fame on the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother and became embroiled in a race row with the late Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and S Club 7 star Jo O’Meara.
Back in 2007, Shilpa shot to fame on the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother (pictured) and became embroiled in a race row with the late Jade Goody
Jade had entered the house with her mother Jackiey Budden and boyfriend Jack Tweed, with Jackiey quickly embroiled in arguments with multiple other housemates including Shilpa – claiming she was ‘unable to pronounce’ her name.
Jackiey was quickly evicted but friction between Jade and Shilpa continued, before the former made several racially-charged comments including claiming to be unable to pronounce Shilpa’s name.
Jade was evicted shortly afterwards in a match-up against Shilpa, who received 83 per cent of the public vote.
She left the house without an audience due to the public backlash and the number of complaints Ofcom had received about her remarks – around 45,000.
Shilpa ultimately went on to win the series.
Channel 4 initially tried to downplay the row as ‘girly rivalry’ and a ‘cultural clash’, but was forced to issue an apology for ‘editorial misjudgments’ after an Ofcom ruling.
The episode sparked a national debate about what is considered racist language, with one newspaper running the headline ‘Beauty v Bigot’.
Shilpa, a famous Bollywood actress in her own right, shot to fame in the UK in 2007 when she won Celebrity Big Brother after being racially abused by Jade Goody and other contestants
Jade initially tried to defend herself against allegations of racism but ultimately conceded that she had been in the wrong, before agreeing to go on Indian reality TV show Bigg Boss as a way of making amends.
But just two days into filming, Jade was diagnosed with cervical cancer and flown home for treatment.
She and Shilpa reconciled during her public cancer battle during which she underwent chemotherapy, and even visited her a few days before her death.
Jade passed away in March 2009.
Last year, Kundra and wife Shilpa welcomed their second child via surrogate.
The couple announced their baby joy via Instagram, with Shilpa telling fans that the newborn has ‘completed our family’.
She shared the first picture of her daughter Samisha, who arrived on 15 February, to social media.
Shilpa and husband Raj married in 2009. The are also parents to son Viaan Raj who was born in May 2012, three years after the couple tied the knot.