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SC asks Goa court to expedite Tejpal’s sexual assault case

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The Goa Police has built a rape case against him, with charges of “sexual harassment” under section 354-A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “assault and use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe her” under Section 354-B, “rape” under Section 376 and “wrongful restraint” under Section 341 and 342. Tejpal has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, asserting that it was an “absolutely false” case foisted on him for “political vendetta.”

New Delhi : In yet another setback to Tarun Tejpal (54), former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed a Goa court to expedite examination of the witnesses in the alleged sexual assault on a young colleague on November 7, 2013 during an event organised by the magazine in a 5-star Goa hotel.

He had come in appeal against the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court refusing to stay the framing of charges by a fast track court in Mapusa, pending disposal of his petition to drop the case itself.


The Bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, however, still left a hope for Tejpal as it asked the Goa Bench to “expeditiously” decide his plea seeking discharge in the case. It asked the HC to dispose of Tejpal’s petition within three months, but with a rider that the trial should go on in the lower court.

Noting that there are some 150 witnesses who are to be examined, the court said the trial court should not pronounce the verdict until the High Court disposes off Tejpal’s petition. It regretted that it had earlier also ordered the trial court to complete the hearing within one year, but nothing happened as even the accused, once on bail, is not in hurry to get the case finished.

The Mapusa court had on September 28 charged him with alleged rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of the woman colleague.

The Goa Police has built a rape case against him, with charges of “sexual harassment” under section 354-A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “assault and use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe her” under Section 354-B, “rape” under Section 376 and “wrongful restraint” under Section 341 and 342. Tejpal has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, asserting that it was an “absolutely false” case foisted on him for “political vendetta.”

This is perhaps the first case in recent times in which the probe has relied on “position of trust” as a crucial aspect in an allegation of rape as the victim, a junior colleague in the magazine, had all respect for Tejpal as a father figure until the day of the ugly incidents in an elevator of Hotel Grand Hyat during an annual gala event organised by Tehalka in Goa.

The charge is that on November 7, 2013, Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted the girl in the elevator and the CCTV coverage of the hotel corroborated the victim’s charge in her complaint to police that he had assaulted her twice despite her strong protests. Under pressure from other colleagues, Tejpal was forced to step down as the editor-in-chief later that month.

The Goa Police has also produced in the Mapusa court an internal e-mail chain from the Tehelka organisation in which Tejpal admitted his role in the assault, saying it was a “shameful lapse of judgment.”

He had written the mail in response to then No 2 (a woman) in the magazine had asked him to apologise to the young girl.