Tejpal to 'celebrate' New Year with 5 criminals

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 28 December 2013 14:50 IST

Tarun Tejpal's BirdSong villa at Moira

Tarun Tejpal, India’s celebrity journalist and owner of a national news weekly Tehelka, will ‘celebrate’ New Year in a prison, at Sada sub-jail, while the whole world has come down to Goa for a New Year bash.

Tejpal, who owns a heritage villa – BirdSong – at Moira, charged almost Rs 72,000 per night during Christmas season, to spend nights with Tejpals.

However, facing charges of raping his junior colleague in Goa in November, Tejpal will now spend Christmas and New Year nights along with five criminals, locked up along with him at the judicial custody.

He will be in the judicial lock up till 4 January as his yet another plea to grant him bail would be now heard on the same day at the Panaji district and sessions judge.

Tejpal has been in the prison for the last 27 days, after arresting him on the night of 30 November as his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the sessions judge,

The crorepati journalist has been charged of raping his junior colleague, a friend of his daughter, in an elevator of Grand Hyatt, on the first night of THiNK Fest on 7 November.

After the victim girl wrote an email about the horrifying incident, which was also repeated by Tejpal again the next night, Goa police had filed suo-motto FIR against Tejpal on 22 November, based on media reports.

While the police gathered all the material evidence and also recorded victim girl’s statement before the court (as required by the law now), Tejpal rushed to Goa with an anticipatory bail application on 29 November.

Earlier, he had also moved the Delhi high court for a transit bail but later withdrew it and moved to Goa court as Delhi court had refused to grant him interim relief.

The 50-year old journalist was then arrested on 30 November after Panaji district and sessions judge Anuja Prabhudesai had rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

Tejpal faces charges under sections 354-A (sexual harassment, physical contact, advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature), 376 (rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape by a person of a woman in his custody taking advantage of his official position) of IPC.

The crime branch of Goa police later added two more charges under sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of IPC.

Meanwhile, the court has rejected three more pleas made by Tejpal – provide fan in the police custody, a separate cell and in-camera hearing of his bail plea.

The only requests accepted by the court are to provide him home food and change of clothes.

In fact, Tejpal had to spend first six days at the Panaji police lock up with criminals like poachers while murder accused in the adjoining cell.

The celebrity journalist reportedly broke down when he saw the stinking condition of the toilet in the Panaji police lock up.

 

Since then, he has spent 10 days in the police custody, after which his remand to the judicial custody was extended by 12 days each, twice.

“Our investigation is still going on and we need him for our probe”, crime branch PI Sunita Sawant, the investigating officer, told goanews.com.

Besides recording statements of Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury (who later quit Tehelka) and three colleagues in Tehelka, to whom the victim girl had narrated her horrific experiences, the police have also quizzed Tejpal’s daughter and the victim girl’s friend.

As no CCTV footage is available of what happened in the elevator, the police have verified the footage found outside the elevator, which corroborates with what the victim girl has started. 

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