Baazee CEO gets bail
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Baazee CEO gets bail

Wednesday, 22 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Tuesday granted bail to baazee.com CEO Avnish Bajaj, arrested for allegedly peddling a pornographic video clip on his auction portal, but prevented him from going abroad.

"The accused is enlarged on bail subject to furnishing a bail bond of 100,000 ($2,300) with two sureties of a like amount to the satisfaction of the magistrate concerned," said Judge Vikramjit Sen, who heard Bajaj's plea.

Sen said Bajaj could not leave India without the court's permission, should join investigation as and when called and submit his passport to the magistrate concerned.

Bazee.com hailed the Bajaj's release. "We applaud the independent judiciary and our faith has been reaffirmed," the company said in a statement.

Judge Sen granted Bajaj bail after the court's lunch recess. Sen had reserved orders after Bajaj's counsel Arun Jaitley -- the former law minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader -- and Gupta concluded their arguments in the forenoon.

Delhi Police opposed Bajaj's bail plea on the ground that he was promoting child pornography. Mukta Gupta, standing counsel of the Delhi government, contended that since Bajaj was an NRI and held a US passport, he could flee the country if granted bail.

Jaitley countered that though Bajaj held a US passport, he lived and worked in India.

Bajaj is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and has studied at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Business School.

Gupta maintained that the text accompanying the video clip on baazee.com was explicitly obscene and contained words like "it has rocked Delhi and now is going to be hot in India".

This indicated the website was aware of what was being sold and yet did nothing to prevent it, Gupta maintained. She stated the video clip was listed on the website for 38 hours after the portal had been informed it was pornographic in nature.

According to Gupta, the website was alerted at 8.25 p.m. Nov 27 but the clip remained on sale till 10.19 a.m. Nov 29. Of the eight clips sold, five transactions took place after the portal was informed about its pornographic nature, she argued.

This showed that Bajaj did not take steps to prevent the sale of the clip even after being informed about its content. His bail should, therefore, be denied, Gupta said.

The baazee.com statement said the portal was a "transparent online marketplace, which offers buyers and sellers an opportunity to interact, trade products and services and give feedback to each other.

"Baazee.com is an online marketplace -- a trading platform that offers buyers and sellers an opportunity to transact.

"Unlike a retailer, baazee.com does not own or sell any of the goods that are listed on the site. Like eBay, baazee.com strives to offer a transparent, trustworthy and safe trading environment and the company takes very seriously any breach of its acceptable use policy," it said.

A Delhi school student shot the clip with a mobile camera phone while he was engaged in a sexually explicit act with a classmate.

It was then circulated via MMS and an IIT student, Ravi Raj Singh, burnt it on to a VCD and posted it for sale on baazee.com.

Ravi Raj and one of the school students have been arrested.


Source: IANS
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