Tarun Tejpal, the founder and former editor-in-chief of ‘Tehelka’ has been acquitted today after the sessions court in Goa quashed all the charges filed against him in the rape case. Soon after the verdict was pronounced in favour of the journalist, an official statement was released, wherein he thanked Congress leaders like Salman Khurshid and Kapil Sibal amongst others for helping him in the legal battle.
Now, a copy of Tarun Tajpal’s statement has been doing the rounds on social media with people speculating that the document was readied by Tarun Tajpal’s legal team on May 19th itself, two days prior to the pronouncement of the verdict was.
Statement from the Tejpal family: pic.twitter.com/A48jgednyS— Smita (@smitagnair) May 21, 2021
Though the document released bore today’s date, i.e May 21st, a closer look reveals that the date on the document has been changed manually. In fact, it appears, that initially, the statement was dated May 19th which was later, changed by hand, to May 21st. Since, after overwriting, the date appeared illegible, it was re-written manually below the typed date.
Social media users shared the statement with the date changed and speculated that Tarun Tejpal had kept his statement, thanking for his acquittal, ready on May 19th itself.
Another possibility was that someone mistyped the date on the statement and then changed it by hand. However, this is unlikely as the additional district court was to pronounce the verdict on May 19 but it had postponed the verdict in the 2013 sexual harassment case against journalist Tarun Tejpal to May 21st.
So going by the sequence of events, it does appear legitimate that Tarun Tejpal’s legal team, convinced about his acquittal, prepared the statement on May 19th itself, before the verdict was even pronounced. But since the court postponed the hearing to May 21st, the same statement was released today by changing the date manually.
Far-left journalist Tarun Tejpal acquitted of rape charges
According to reports, the sessions court in Goa quashed all the charges filed against Tarun Tejpal in the rape case. Earlier, Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi had reserved the verdict in the seven-year-old case. Interestingly, the trial was held on-camera at Tejpal’s instance.
The journalist was accused of forcing himself on a colleague against her wishes inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa, on November 7, 2013, during an official event. He had stepped down as editor for six months after being accused of sexual assault.
The Goa Police had subsequently registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Tejpal for various offences, including rape. He was arrested in November 2013 and later released on bail in July 2014.
He was charged under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (sexual harassment), 354A(1)(I)(II)(demand for sexual favours), 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376 (2)(f) (person in a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape by a person in a position of control).
The trial against Tejpal began in 2017.