Website Exec Faces Obscenity Charges

Rhett Pardon
NEW DELHI, India — An executive of India auction website Baazee.com has been arrested in conjunction with the listing of eight pornographic CDs on the eBay-subsidiary site.

EBay said Avnish Bajaj was “suddenly arrested” in his office in Mumbai, India, when he reported to work early Friday.

The arrest stems from a listing on Baazee of a video depicting oral sex between a teenage boy and girl at one of India’s top schools that was captured on cellphone and later burned onto CDs.

The video clip, which has sparking a debate on morality issues in schools and the use of camera-fitted cell phones, has since traveled all over the country and overseas through the Internet.

Bajaj was arrested under India’s Information Technology Act under a provision that bars the transmission of obscene material through the media, according to an official quoted in the Press Trust of India.

Spokesman Henry Gomez of San Jose, Calif.-based eBay said the listing was pulled after police notified Baazee that it had a listing of the porn CD.

Gomez also said that Baazee gave police information about the person who tried to sell the CD, and it's the company's understanding that the person was arrested.

"We've been very proactive in seeking his release immediately," Gomez said. "We're very concerned about it and outraged that he's being held."

Bajaj, an American citizen of Indian descent who returned to India, was chairman and co-chief executive of Baazee when eBay purchased the auction site in June.

New Delhi, India-based Baazee has 1 million registered users.