Home Law Goa: Hearing against Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal in 2013 sexual assault case adjourned to 7 October

Goa: Hearing against Tehelka’s Tarun Tejpal in 2013 sexual assault case adjourned to 7 October

The Supreme Court had on August 19, 2019, dismissed a plea seeking quashing of charges against journalist Tarun Tejpal.

The hearing against Tehelka magazine’s founder-editor Tarun Tejpal, who has been accused of sexual assault by his former junior colleague, has been adjourned to October 7 by the Panaji Sessions court.

The Supreme Court had on August 19, 2019, dismissed a plea seeking quashing of charges against journalist Tarun Tejpal. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice MR Shah said that the case against the Tehelka founder-editor would continue. The bench also directed the lower court to complete the trial against Tejpal within six months. Reportedly, the Supreme Court bench termed the plea as an offence “morally abhorrent” and an “assault on the privacy of the victim”.

In the petition filed before the top court, challenging the Bombay High Court’s December 20, 2017 order, Tejpal had sought quashing of charges pertaining to sexual assaults and kidnapping.

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Prior to this, the Mapusa court had on August 3, 2018, adjourned the hearing following a plaint from the defence that the CD containing Whatsapp messages exchanged between the victim and accused was not opening due to a technical snag.

A journalist colleague of Tejpal had accused him of raping her inside an elevator in a Hotel Grand Hyatt, Goa, during Tehelka magazine’s THiNK 2013 festival in Goa on November 7, 2013.

The case came to light when a number of media houses published a leaked trail of emails exchanged between the woman, Tejpal and the managing editor of Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary. This further led Tejpal to step down from his post of editor-in-chief of the media house in November 2013, for six months to ‘recuse’ himself.

Based on the media reports, the crime branch of the Goa Police launched a preliminary probe leading to an FIR against Tejpal on three charges of sexual assault harassment and rape.

Tejpal had arrived at Goa from Delhi on November 30, 2013, where he was arrested by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court.  He was lodged in the Sada sub-jail in Goa’s Vasco. On 1 July 2014, the Supreme Court granted him bail and he has been out on bail ever since.

After years of delay, the trial against the Tehelka’s former editor-in-chief finally started in Goa’s Mapusa in March 2018.

Incidentally, over the years Tejpal has been openly defended by a section of the liberal brethren, owing to him being “one of their own”.

This includes a Mid Day column, urging media persons who were voicing their views against Tejpal, to rethink their stand, since in the day and age of ‘rising intolerance’ a ‘liberal voice’ was the need of the hour. One Outlook article by Manu Joseph actually sought to “raise questions” over the whole incident.

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