Tejpal raped the victim in the lift, states chargesheet

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 17 February 2014 14:11 IST

Goa police has finally filed a chargesheet against Tehelka owner and former editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal for raping his junior colleague, in an elevator of Grand Hyatt Resort in Goa, during THiNK Fest held in the first week of November last year.

He has also been charged of wrongful restraint, confining, using criminal force, making physical contacts, demanding sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks and committing the offences of rape, sexual harassment and outraging her modesty against her wish and without her consent in the lift.

The incident of rape, according to the chargesheet, took place on the night of 7 November, at around 11.23 pm, when the lift was moving up and down for almost two minutes and nine seconds.

The lift normally takes hardly 21 seconds to reach from the ground floor to the second floor of the guest house, where the rape took place.

According to the crime branch, there is enough evidence through CCTV footage outside the lifts on both the floors to establish the crime, though no CCTV is installed inside the lift.

The police have also charged Tejpal of committing similar crime on the second day, 8 November, at around 9 pm, but not rape, in the same lift.

Tejpal once again sexually harassed the victim and outraged her modesty on the subsequent day, states the chargesheet.

Tejpal had earlier claimed that the truth would ultimately come out when the CCTV footage is verified.

The police investigation however states that the CCTV footage establishes the charge made by the victim girl and proves Tejpal wrong.

The First Information Report, suo motto, was filed against the 50-year old celebrity journalist on 22 November by the crime branch of Goa police after the news broke out through the national media.

The news was based on the email written by the victim journalist to Shoma Choudhury, the managing editor of the national news weekly – Tehelka.

Tejpal, who later resigned as the editor-in-chief, was however arrested on 30 November, after his bail plea was rejected by both the Delhi and Goa high courts.

Since then, Tejpal is in the custody for last 70 days, initially in the police custody and later in the judicial custody.

As his repeated bail pleas also made in the upper district courts were rejected, his fresh bail plea is presently being heard by the Bombay high court at Panaji.

The victim girl was officially escorting Hollywood actor Robert De Nero, the guest at THiNK Fest, along with his daughter Drena.

Both the incidents happened in the elevators of Block 7 of Grand Hyatt when Tejpal had gone to wish De Nero, along with the victim girl.

Besides recording statements of several witnesses from Tehelka as well as employees of the Resort, the police have also gathered evidence through electronic communication of Tejpal and others in this regard through emails, mobile sms as well as conversations.

Besides using his authority as the editor of the news magazine to pressurise her for the sexual act, the probe reveals that Tejpal himself has admitted of committing the crime in communication to his managing editor Choudhury and also to the victim girl.

The first such admission made by Tejpal to Choudhury through email, the chargesheet quotes, was: “the last days have been most testing and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for”.

The 2846-page chargesheet, filed by PI Sunita Sawant, contains main content of 132 pages, 30 pages of depositions and statements of witnesses and 1648 pages of annexures.

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