Release Avnish Bajaj Immediately

It is a sign of the times in India that the two hot topics for discussion are a kiss and a video. The kiss was publicised by Mumbai eveninger Mid-Day and was allegedly between Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor in a discotheque. The video was made by a Delhi male student about his escapades with a girl. The kiss has resulted in legal proceedings against the Mumbai newspaper and a critique from the Supreme Court. The video has landed Avnish Bajaj, the CEO of Baazee, India’s largest auction site which was bought by eBay for $50 million earlier in the year, in jail. As it turns out, the video made was sold by an IIT-Kharagpur student on Baazee. The police used the Indian Information Technology Act to arrest the Baazee CEO (who is a US citizen) after calling him back from the US.

I don’t see the connection between the video being on sale on Baazee and the need to arrest Avnish Bajaj. It is a bad misjudgement on the part of the police – no one can hold Bajaj responsible for the site listings. In that event, as a friend put it, the municipal commissioners may need to be arrested for allowing pornographic videos and material on sold on the pavement, since the responsibility for the pavement is with the municipal corporation.

The Indian IT and Internet industries need to protest vigorously and put pressure on the government to release Avnish Bajaj. Let the investigation into the incident and sale of videos happen, but that in no way implicates the CEO of Baazee and causes him to be sent to judicial custoday for a week. He should be released immediately.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.