The Bombay high court on Tuesday rejected the pre-arrest bail plea filed by actor Gehana Vasisht accused in a case related to pornographic films noting that the allegations prima facie constitute a ‘grave offence’.
Vasisht is accused of threatening, coercing and luring women with money to act in pornographic films.
Justice S K Shinde refused to grant anticipatory bail to the actor noting that the allegations levelled in the complaint ‘prima facie constitute the offence of sexual exploitation’.
‘The allegations do constitute a grave offence. In my view, this is not a fit case to grant pre-arrest bail,’ the high court said.
‘The said films were shot in a bungalow rented for a day or two. The victims were blackmailed with fake contracts and forced into doing semi-nude scenes in the name of bold scenes,’ the HC said.
‘A large conspiracy appears to have been hatched in making pornographic material and aspiring actors were pushed to engage in sexual acts,’ it said.
Vasisht filed the plea last month, fearing arrest in the case lodged in July 2021.
She was booked under sections 354-C (outraging modesty of woman), 292 and 293 (sale of obscene material) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections 66E, 67, 67A (transmission of sexually explicit material) of the Information Technology Act, and provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
The Mumbai Police had registered three FIRs in the porn films racket case against several persons.
Businessman Raj Kundra, the husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, is an accused in one of the FIRs.
He was arrested on July 19 this year and is currently in judicial custody.
The police’s case against Vasisht is that she had lured women with the promise of small acting jobs and forced them to act in obscene movies. These movies were then uploaded on the mobile app Hotshots, allegedly owned by Kundra.
The police subsequently also applied to a lower court to add another charge against Vasisht under section 370 (detaining a person against their will) of the IPC.
Vasisht’s advocate Abhishek Yende had earlier argued that the actor’s arrest was not required as the police have already recovered evidence from her.
He also opposed the charge under section 370 of the IPC and said the complainant in the case came to the applicant on her own free will and was not forced or coerced.