Police fear Tejpal may leave India, Court denies him anticipatory bail

GOANEWS & PTI, PANAJI/NEW DELHI | 26 November 2013 19:51 IST

Goa police have alerted the authorities at immigration check posts to see that Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal, allegedly charged in a rape case, does not leave the country.

“We have taken a precautionary step by alerting the relevant authorities so that Tejpal does not leave the country”, DIG O P Mishra told the media today evening.

He however refused to divulge any information regarding the ongoing investigations in the case.

Goa police have been investigating a case where Tejpal has been accused of sexually attacking his junior colleague in Goa on 7 and 8 November, during the THiNK Fest held in Goa.

Fearing arrest, Tejpal had approached the Delhi high court seeking transit bail so that he is not arrested while moving for anticipatory bail in Goa court.

The Delhi High Court today refused to grant interim protection against arrest to Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal, who has been accused of sexually assaulting his junior colleague on November 7 and 8 at a hotel in Goa.

Justice Sunita Gupta also asked counsel for the Goa police to file its reply, if any, and fixed the hearing of Tejpal’s anticipatory bail plea for hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police also opposed the plea for grant of any transit bail to Tejpal who termed the FIR as politically motivated alleging that the Goa Chief Minister was taking undue interest in the matter.

“I am opposing the matter due to the seriousness of the allegations against the accused,” the counsel for the Goa police said, adding that he has not been supplied with the copy of the petition by the accused journalist.

Senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi and Geeta Luthra, appearing for Tejpal, said that the Tehelka Editor be protected against any possible arrest till tomorrow when this court will recommence hearing on the bail application.

Refusing to grant interim protection, Justice Gupta said, "I don’t have even the copy of the FIR with the petition. Let them file the reply then I will see...."

Tulsi submitted, "This has become a political battle. I am entitled to interim protection as has been the practice in this court.

"At best, the case is of section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and it is the figment of imagination that it has become a case of section 376 (rape) of the IPC. Even the girl has not made any statement to the police."

At the start of the hearing, counsel of the Goa police sought one week’s time to respond to the petition of Tejpal and opposed the submission seeking grant of any interim protection against his arrest.

Tejpal has moved the high court seeking either anticipatory bail or transit bail “to enable him to approach the appropriate court for seeking the relief in accordance with the law“.

Terming one of the two incidents as “only light hearted bantering”, the petition said, “The nature of the said meeting can be easily established by perusal of a CCTV footage of Hotel Hyatt, Goa, which is within the knowledge and reach of the Goa police but the same has been blatantly ignored by the investigating agency.

“That on November 8, 2013 a further meeting took place between the two individuals but the same lasted for few seconds and contained no incident which could constitute commission of a cognisable offence.”

Tejpal said that his woman colleague “continued to party and was completely normal and friendly all throughout her stay in Goa“.

“She was at every party and social event through the conference and stayed out late in the night.”

Terming the complaint as “motivated, false and an afterthought”, the petition said it was filed after a delay of 10 days. It also refuted the allegations.

“The Managing Editor (of the magazine), however, refused to even listen to the applicant’s version and overrode him, telling him that she was making the decision in Tehelka’s interest,” it said.

The alleged incident happened in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa.


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