Tarun Tejpal’s anticipatory bail plea hearing: Crucial test for Goa prosecution today
Panaji – It will be a crucial test for the Goa prosecution on Saturday to get an order for custodial interrogation of Tehelka’s founder-editor Tarun Tejpal as the hearing on his anticipatory bail application has just resumed in a Panaji court.
It will be prestigious for the Goa government to get the bail application rejected as it had suo moto taken up the matter of alleged sexual assault against Tejpal on a woman journalist and lodged a FIR based on the email sent by the victim to the magazine’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, who has since resigned.
Goa Police had recorded the victim’s statement in Mumbai and then got the woman journalist to record her statement against Tejpal before a Goa magistrate.
Tejpal’s arrest appeared imminent on Friday morning after non-bailable warrant was issued by a local court but his legal team managed to get interim relief for the beleaguered Tehelka founder after the arguments on the anticipatory bail plea remained inconclusive on Friday.
Tejpal’s lawyer Geeta Luthra stressed that the issue was politically motivated and said that CCTV footage would show the applicant’s innocence. The counsel also argued that the complaint was filed more than a week after the alleged incident. After she completes her arguments, the special public prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar will put up a case for custodial interrogation of Tejpal.
The high-profile case, being the first major one after the new amendment on rape, has generated much interest from the legal point. Observers say that the state would have to come up with strong grounds to convince the court for custodial interrogation of the accused.
Tarun Tejpal visits Gao Police’s crime branch office
Ahead of hearing on his bail petition, Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal on Saturday visited the crime branch office here and said he was cooperating in the investigation.
Police sources said Tejpal, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman reporter in the magazine, was not quizzed and stayed for 10 minutes.
“We have joined the investigation started by the crime branch on Friday. We will join today also,” Tejpal told reporters after coming out of the office.