American head of Indian Net firm is arrested on pornography charges

Short clip involving teens was for sale on Web site

December 22, 2004|By Paul Watson | Paul Watson,LOS ANGELES TIMES

NEW DELHI, India - The American head of an Indian Internet firm caught up in a video scandal involving teen sex was released on bail yesterday as police interrogated the private school student who filmed the lewd clip with a cell phone camera.

A Delhi High Court judge ordered the release of Avnish Bajaj, head of eBay-owned Baazee.com, who faces charges of allowing sale of pornographic material on the Web site.

Bajaj was arrested Friday and initially held in Delhi's high-security Tihar prison after a video clip of two private school students engaged in a sexual act was posted for sale on Baazee.com, India's biggest Internet auction site.

The 17-year-old boy who shot the video on his cell phone also was arrested. A juvenile court allowed police to question him yesterday in the presence of a social worker and his father. He was being held in a juvenile home until early next month.

The boy and the 16-year-old girl in the clip have been expelled from Delhi Public School, a prestigious private school.

Police also have charged a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, whom Baazee identified as the person who offered the clip for sale on the Web site. Investigators are seeking more suspects in a case that has scandalized India, where public displays of affection as tame as kissing are frowned upon.

Police say the boy shot the racy video with a cell phone in his bedroom in July. The clip, which reportedly runs about two minutes, began to spread on cell phone and Internet networks after he showed it to friends.

As the teen sex video continued to dominate front pages here yesterday, news broke of more Internet-based scandals.

In Agra, police reportedly found 40 students watching pornography in two Internet cafes. When police raided the cafes, they found boys and girls "in various stages of undress and in intimate contact," the Hindustan Times reported.

Bajaj, 34, is a naturalized American citizen who lives in India. He sold Baazee.com to San Jose, Calif.-based eBay for about $50 million in August.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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