On Monday, The Supreme Court rejected Tarun Tejpal’s (former Tehelka magazine editor) appeal to revoke the charges against him in a case of rape, assault and sexual harassment of an ex-colleague and asked him to face trial.
The trial court in Goa is directed by the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah, and B R Gavai, where the case is pending, to complete proceedings in six months. The court stated that the charges are serious and that there is already delay in the trial.
The case was related to an offense which was morally abhorrent in nature said by the bench,
Tejpal had initially moved to the Bombay High Court which refused to interfere in the matter.
He then requested the Supreme Court that he had been framed and sought to rely on CCTV recording of the hotel where the alleged event took place as well as messages exchanged with the woman to argue his case.
On August 6, when the court held its order on Tejpal’s appeal, his counselor requested the court to look at the CCTV recording from the hotel lobby, showing the woman appearing from the lift in which she was supposedly attacked.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh who appeared for him disputed that
her behavior does not support her statement that says she ran out of the lift. The recording shows no such trial. Anybody can make affirmations of this nature and getaway.
But the argument did not cut ice with the court, which said
This is not the stage to consider all this.” Singh claimed that the charges were tailor-made against the former editor.
The woman had blamed Tejpal of sexually assaulting her inside a lift at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event in 2013. Tejpal is currently on bail in the case and has refused the allegations.
He was arrested on November 30, 2013, by the crime branch after the court denied his anticipatory bail plea.
The Goa Police stated there was adequate material in the form of contemporaneous WhatsApp messages and e-mails which explicated that the Tehelka magazine founder should face trial.
The trial court erected charges on Tejpal under various sections of the Indian Penal Code: Sections 341 (wrongful restraint); 342 (wrongful confinement); 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty); 354A (sexual harassment); 354B (assault or use of unlawful force to woman with intent to disrobe); 376 (2)(f) (person in position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape by person in position of control).
Of the 155 witnesses quoted in the charge sheet, only the victim has been considered \’until date with the next trial date expected to allow for cross-examination. North Goa district Magistrate Vijaya Pol fixed September 23 as the date where the prosecution has to report on the Supreme Court judgment. The date of the trial’s resumption will be decided subsequently.