EBay 'outraged' at porn-related arrest in India

Ebay is "outraged" at the arrest of Avnish Bajaj, the chief executive officer of the company's Baazee.com subsidiary in India, the company said in a statement issued on Sunday.

Bajaj was arrested on Dec. 17 under section 67 of India's Information Technology Act, which relates to transmission of obscene material through electronic media.

Calling the arrest unexpected, completely unwarranted and the result of misdirected energies by the New Delhi police, Ebay said in the statement that it is working to secure the release of Bajaj, country manager of Baazee.com India, as soon as possible. He was sent on Sunday into judicial custody without bail until Dec. 24, according to the statement.

EBay, of San Jose, California, acquired Mumbai-based Baazee.com in August for about US$50 million.

Bajaj's arrest comes after Bajaj traveled to New Delhi to assist police with an investigation into the offering for sale on Baazee.com of a video that showed two New Delhi minors in a sexual act.

The video originated from a clip that was taken using an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)-enabled phone, allegedly by one of the participants in the act. The clip was apparently sent by the creator to friends via cell phone and recipients copied the content to VCDs (Video CDs) and sold the discs, according to the police, who are still investigating the case.

Baazee.com argued last week that it was unaware of the clip's content and that the item had been removed as soon as it was found to be pornographic.

The statement issued Sunday added that the video clip itself was not shown on the site, that the seller offered to e-mail the clip to buyers directly, and that the listing violated Baazee.com's policies and user agreement. Bajaj, the statement added, has been closely cooperating with the New Delhi police in order to trace the seller in question and the information provided had allowed the police to locate and arrest the seller.

Last week a student from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur in West Bengal state was arrested by the New Delhi police for allegedly selling the sex clip on Baazee.com.

Baazee.com's operations in India have not been affected by the incident, the statement said.

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Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
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