Businessman Raj Kundra has always been known as the husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty. But little do people know that Raj Kundra is one man who has always been marred with controversies. From betting to bitcoins to pornography to connections with the underworld, Raj Kundra has often made it to the front page of various newspapers for all the wrong reasons. And today, when Raj Kundra continues to rule the headline, let us look at the controversies that have surrounded the businessman in the past.
The Porn controversy
As per reports, the racket was busted earlier in February this year when a woman approached Mumbai Police and accused Kundra of luring young men and women on the pretext of offering roles in web series and allegedly forcing them to make porn films instead.
In fact, Bollywood actresses Sherlyn Chopra and Poonam Pandey have alleged that it was Raj Kundra, who was instrumental in getting them into the adult film industry. During the investigation, it was revealed that Sherlyn was paid Rs 30 lakh for each project, and so far, she had done 15-20 projects for Kundra.
Raj Kundra and the Rs 2000 crore Bitcoin scam
In January 2018, Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning over his alleged role in a Rs 2000 crore bitcoin scam. Kundra was reportedly summoned by ED for his alleged links with two businessmen- Pune-based Amit Bharadwaj and his brother Vivek Bharadwaj who were directors of a company named GainBitcoin that cheated more than 8,000 people through a crypto-currency scheme.
According to the Delhi Police, Bhardwaj had allegedly set up a multi-level marketing scam by luring investors to give him bitcoins with the promise of higher returns. He never gave the returns and instead fled the country. Bhardwaj was later located by the Pune police in Bangkok and arrested along with his brother and six others. Kundra allegedly promoted one of the platforms held by Bhardwaj.
The IPL scandal
Raj Kundra is a former co-owner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR). In the year 2013, Kundra was arrested by the Delhi police on charges of betting. Back then, the police had accused Kundra of indulging in betting, which is illegal, via team co-owner Umesh Goenka. “Kundra used to place bets for the past three years. Kundra placed bets with Goenka. Goenka was a bookie and forwarded bets to others on behalf of Kundra,” a senior police official had said.
Kundra had also admitted to placing bets in the Indian Premier League through bookie Umesh Goenka. As a result, he faced a lifetime ban from all cricket-related activities by the Supreme Court. Moreover, his team Rajasthan Royals was also banned for two years.
Later, Raj Kundra’s name had also cropped up in the IPL match-fixing scandal, along with other celebrities like Arbaaz Khan, Vindu Dara Singh, cricket player Sreesanth, ICC chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and others. While the then cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandela and Ankit Chavan were arrested for match-fixing by the Delhi police in 2013, the latter acquitted Kundra after he confessed that he was involved in betting but not match-fixing.
Raj Kundra and actor Sachiin Joshi accuse each other of fraud
In the year 2018, Kundra’s life was marred with yet another controversy when he and actor Sachiin Joshi accused each other of fraud. Raj Kundra, who launched Indian Poker League in 2017, accused Sachiin of non-payment of dues. Kundra alleged that Sachiin bought a team in the tournament, but his cheque for Rs 40 lakh bounced. Meanwhile, Sachiin accused Raj of ‘rigging the tournament’ because of which, he backed out.
Involvement with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim
Like many other Bollywood celebrities, Raj Kundra was also believed to have a connection with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. In fact, in 2019 Kundra was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate on his involvement in a business case dealing with Ranjeet Bindra. Ranjeet Birdra is reportedly a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim’s henchman Iqbal Mirchi.
According to reports, the ED had found documents related to business dealings between the real estate firm RKW Developers Private Limited, of which Ranjeet Kumar Bindra was one of the directors with Essential Hospitality Limited where the actress Shilpa Shetty was one of the directors.
According to reports, RKW Developers Private Limited invested Rs 44.11 crore in Essential Hospitality and provided an interest-free loan of Rs 31.54 crore. Over Rs 30.45 crore of the loan was granted to Essential Hospitality.
Back then, Raj Kundra had also tweeted about selling a plot to Ranjeet Bindra’s firm. He also said he had business dealings with Bindra and that was the be-all and end-all of the deal.
Complaint filed against Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra for allegedly cheating investors in “Gold Card Scheme”
An NRI businessman named Sachin Joshi, had in March 2020, lodged a complaint of cheating and fraudulence against actress Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra. Joshi claimed that he was duped by both when they were directors of the Satyug Gold Pvt. Ltd., a gold-trading company.
The NRI has claimed in the police complaint that he was duped by SGPL’S ‘Satyug Gold Scheme’ that was launched in 2014. Joshi noted that under a five-year gold plan, the buyer of the gold which was sold under the ‘Satyug Gold Scheme’ was offered a ‘Satyug gold card’ at a discounted rate and promised a certain fixed quantity of gold redeemable after a five-year period.
Joshi’s spokesperson told IANS that he had purchased One kg of gold for nearly Rs 18.58 lacs in March 2014 at the then prices. It would be redeemable on or after March 25, 2019, at the promised discounts of the Satyug Gold Card.
When Joshi went to redeem his one-kg golden asset on the due date in March 2019, he found that the SGPL office in Bandra Kurla Complex in Suburban Mumbai was shut with no employees or representatives available there.
Joshi was more shocked after he searched on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs when he learned that Shetty and Kundra had resigned as directors of SGPL in May 2016 and November 2017 respectively.
Joshi said, “It became clear from all these facts that SGPL was a fraudulent entity being used to run the fake ‘Satyug Gold Scheme’ using the name of celebs like Shilpa Shetty. I have suffered a loss of Rs 18.58 lakh on my gold investment.”
Raj Kundra and his controversial personal life
Raj Kundra’s personal life has also been full of scandals as has been his professional life. Raj Kundra and actor Shilpa Shetty married in 2009 after the former divorced his first wife Kavita. Kavita had accused the actress of being a homewrecker.
After an old video of Kundra’s ex-wife resurfaced on social media recently, the entrepreneur made had shocking revelations about his separation from his ex-wife Kavita, which had gone viral on the Internet. Raj alleged that she had an affair with his brother-in-law Vansh (sister Reena Kundra’s husband). Raj also claimed that Kavita was given thousands of pounds by a UK tabloid to accuse Shilpa Shetty. Apart from this, the UK-based businessman also claimed that Kavita didn’t allow him to visit his daughter.
Raj Kundra and his long list of problematic Tweets
Following his arrest, some of Kundra’s tweets from the past went viral on social media. The tweets are quite problematic on the face of it. In one tweet, he draws a comparison between pornography and prostitution. In another tweet, he made a sexual joke about scientist Isaac Newton. Raj Kundra also made a joke that was Hinduphobic and racist towards Sri Lankans at the same time.
In another tweet from May 3rd, 2012, Raj Kundra made a joke that politicians are watching pornography and that porn stars are becoming actors.
Actress says she got filthy calls after Raj Kundra’s associates got her number leaked
Actress Poonam Pandey, who accused Raj Kundra of being instrumental in getting her into the adult film industry, also alleged that upon contractual disagreement with Raj Kundra and his associates in 2019, her number along with her images were leaked and she was subjected to filthy calls.
Though in his statements, Kundra had said that he had exited the company in December 2019, he was a partner when Pandey signed a contract with them.
Raj Kundra sent to Byculla jail until July 23
Raj Kundra was arrested on July 19 (Monday) by the Mumbai police in a case related to the creation and publishing of pornographic material over mobile apps. As per reports, he was arrested by Crime Branch. Mumbai Police Commissioner said that the police has sufficient evidence of his involvement. He has been named as the ‘key conspirator’ in the case. Raj Kundra has been sent to police custody till July 23.
Meanwhile, in a recent development, Raj Kundra was produced before the Esplanade Court on Tuesday afternoon after which he was sent to police custody to Byculla Jail till July 23. He has been booked under sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) of IPC besides relevant sections of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act