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Bollywood

Raj Kundra, UK-based kin ‘masterminded’ global porn racket: Mumbai Police

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The Mumbai Police on Tuesday made a shocking revelation that arrested businessman 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.

The husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, Kundra is the owner of Viaan Industries Ltd, jointly promoted by the couple, while Bakshi — a British citizen, who is married to Kundra’s sister — is the Chairman of Kenrin Ltd., London.

Mumbai’s Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Milind Bharambe said that the two companies had a mobile app called ‘HotShots Digital Entertainment’, developed by Kenrin Ltd.

The HotShots app is 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 free to download app was yanked off by both Apple and Google Playstore for the type of its content. The Mumbai Police have recovered incriminating evidences like several HotShot films, video clips, WhatsApp chats, etc. during the investigation,” Bharambe told a crowded media gathering.

He said that the probe into the entire affair of Kundra started in February 2021 with the Malvani police station blowing the lid off by lodging a complaint about pornographic content being produced and shot at some bungalows in the remote Madh Island and its surroundings in the coastal areas of Malad in north-west Mumbai.

The police probe made the startling revelations of how new or aspiring actresses coming to Mumbai from all over India were lured with work offers in short films, webseries and other movies.

“They were called for auditions and after selection 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,” Bharambe said.

After making the content, the two companies — Viaan and Kendrin — 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.

Following the investigations by the Malvani Police and later by the Crime Branch-CID and Property Cell, at least 12 arrests have been made so far, including Kundra, his techie associate Ryan J. Tharpe, who were remanded to police custody till July 23 by a Mumbai Magistrate Court.

The nine persons arrested earlier include TV actress Gehna Vashisht, 32, Yasmin R. Khan, 40, Monu Joshi, 28, Pratibha Nalavade, 33, M. Atif Ahmed, 24, Dipankar P. Khasnavis, 38, Bhanusurya Thakur, 26, Tanvir Hashmi, 40, and Umesh Kamath, 39.

A close confidante of Kundra, Kamat was heading the India operations of Viaan, which also handled the full operations of HotShots, including content creations, accounts and other details, along with Kendrin Ltd., police said.

Authoritative Bollywood and police sources claim that the ongoing probe into the Kundra matter “maybe just the tip of the porno-iceberg” that flourishes in the entertainment circles, aided or abetted by some high-profile ‘model or acting coordinators’ in south Mumbai and western suburbs, with huge stakes involved.

“There are dark rumours of even many big celebs, models-actors-actresses being involved in this. ‘Sex-rave parties’ are organised at secret locations in India and abroad where the acts are filmed, and later packaged as ‘hot content’ and sold for millions on various media platforms all over the world,” a top producer told IANS, on condition of anonymity.

Bollywood

I-T sleuths ‘search’ Sonu Sood’s home for second day

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 For the second consecutive day, the Income Tax Department continued its ‘survey’ operations at the home of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, official sources said here on Thursday.

A team of IT sleuths swooped on the 48-year-old Sood’s Juhu home to carry out search operations to detect certain alleged financial irregularities.

The IT department is examining bank statements, books of accounts, documents and details of financial or other business transactions during the ‘survey’, for suspected tax evasion, though no details are being shared officially.

In Wednesday’s operations, the IT had searched around half-a-dozen premises linked to the actor, including offices and other properties in Mumbai and certain locations in Lucknow.

Sood shot into limelight last year (2020) for arranging free flights or luxury buses for stranded migrants during the lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic and sent them to different parts of India, besides organising liquid medical oxygen supplies to various hospitals during the second Covid wave this year (2021).

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IT department ‘surveys’ actor Sonu Sood’s Mumbai premises

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Actor Sonu Sood.

 The Income Tax Department is ‘surveying’ the Mumbai offices and home in the suburbs belonging to Bollywood actor Sonu Sood here on Wednesday, official sources said.

Teams of IT sleuths began the operations since morning, though the reason behind the action is not immediately known.

Sood had shot into prominence last year for arranging free flights to enable stranded migrants reach their homes in different parts of India during the nationwide lockdown.

He also had a scrap with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly converting his six-story house in Juhu into an illegal boarding.

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Tahira Kashyap reveals how Ayushmann Khurrana won her heart

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On Ayushmann Khurrana’s 37th birthday on Tuesday, his filmmaker-wife Tahira Kashyap revealed how the actor won her heart, when they both were just 19 years old.

Tahira on Tuesday shared a throwback picture on Instagram and penned a heart-warming note talking about how the actor wooed her.

“We were 19! I found you quite cool, with your frames, bike, matching sweaters and mufflers, but what got my heart was when you held the guitar and sang a song for me,” Tahira wrote.

She added: “You have always been passionate about art and what inspires me is after all these years your innocence and excitement towards work and life remains the same. You have been my biggest confidante and cheerleader.

“I might not be a big romantic as the goofiness (like you would say) gets the better of me, but I want to tell you that life is amazing with you and I continue learning a lot from you! Happy birthday umm P.S. – we were such lookers no.”

Ayushmann and Tahira were childhood sweethearts. The two got married in 2008. The couple welcomed their son Virajveer in 2012 and daughter Varushka in 2014.

Ayushmann’s upcoming roster includes ‘Anek’, ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ and ‘Doctor G’.

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