Tehelka case : Will Mr.Tejpal get bail? Goa court to decide at 4:30 pm
Panaji – A Goa court will give its order at 4:30 pm on whether Tarun Tejpal, the founder of Tehelka who is accused of raping a younger colleague, will get anticipatory bail or not. Mr Tejpal is likely to be arrested if he does not get bail today.
Mr Tejpal, who is present in court with his family, told the judge through his lawyer that he is ready to surrender his passport to avoid arrest.
“Mr Tejpal is ready to stay in Goa till the time it was required by the investigating agency,” his lawyer said, adding “There should not be any fear that he (Tejpal) will tamper with witnesses or evidence.”
However, in what could dent the chances of a bail for the 50-year-old Tehelka founder, the prosecution told the court that the woman journalist, who has accused Mr Tejpal, has been consistent with her version, but Mr Tejpal has been changing colours like a chameleon.
The public prosecutor argued that prima facie a case is established against Mr Tejpal and so the police want his custodial interrogation. The prosecution also said that the accused should be in police custody so that he can be properly interrogated.
Ahead of the bail hearing, Mr Tejpal visited the Goa Crime Branch office this morning. Police sources say Mr Tejpal was not quizzed and stayed there for 10 minutes.
“We have joined the investigation started by the Crime Branch yesterday. We will join today also,” Mr Tejpal told reporters after coming out of the office. Yesterday, Mr Tejpal was interrogated at the Goa crime branch office for over an hour.
Yesterday, in court, the judge appeared to reject all major arguments offered by Mr Tejpal’s lawyers as they petitioned for his bail. The judge also censured Geeta Luthra, Mr Tejpal’s lawyer, for naming the woman reporter, who was allegedly raped. “Are you trying to malign her? We are not playing to the gallery. This is not a minor mistake,” she said.
The judge seemed unimpressed with the defence lawyers’ claims that the case against Mr Tejpal is a political conspiracy, and that the delay in filing the complaint by his colleague suggests it’s inauthentic.
Mr Tejpal’s appearance at the Delhi airport on Friday afternoon before he boarded the flight for Goa was his first public sighting since he was accused of raping the reporter at an annual Tehelka conference in Goa earlier this month. She did not press charges, but detailed her allegations against him to her boss at Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary, in an email that was leaked.
The Goa Police used that email to commence its investigation against Mr Tejpal. Ms Chaudhary resigned as Tehelka’s Managing Editor on Thursday.