Bombay HC dismisses Tejpal's plea seeking quashing of rape, other charges

Updated: Dec 20, 2017, 22:05 IST | PTI | Panji

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by Tehelka's former editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal seeking quashing of rape and other charges levelled against him by a former woman colleague

The Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Tehelka's former editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal seeking quashing of rape and other charges levelled against him by a former woman colleague. Justice Nutan Sardesai of the Goa bench of the high court dismissed the petition by Tejpal, who has been accused of raping the woman during an event in Goa in 2013. The detailed order is expected to be pronounced later in the day.

Tarun Tejpal
Tarun Tejpal

The district court in Mapusa town had earlier framed charges against Tejpal under IPC sections 354-A (sexual harassment), 376 (rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape of a woman by a person being in the position of control or dominance over the woman), and began the trial last month.

The crime branch later added to the case IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (2)(f) (person in the position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women), 376 C (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty).

"The detailed copy of the order, by which our petition has been dismissed, is not with us. So, we are not able to know on which ground it was rejected," lawyer Pramodkumar Dubey, who represented Tejpal in the high court, told PTI.

Senior lawyer Aman Lekhi, who argued on behalf of Tejpal in the HC on December 12, had then presented before it CCTV footage of the area outside the lift of a five-star hotel, where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted the woman.

Public prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar contended that the charges against Tejpal should not be dismissed without trial.

Tejpal's plea for anticipatory bail was rejected on November 30, 2013 following which he was arrested. Tejpal was lodged in the Sada sub-jail at Vasco and the crime branch charge-sheeted him on February 17, 2014 for rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of the victim.

On May 19, 2014 the Supreme Court granted Tejpal interim bail for three weeks to attend the final rites of his mother. The interim bail was later extended to six weeks. On July 1, 2014 the apex court granted him bail. Earlier, on June 16, 2017 the trial court at Mapusa heard the arguments in-camera before framing the charges.

On September 7, the district court in Mapusa refused to drop the charges against Tejpal, following which he moved the high court bench here. Tejpal had sought a stay on the framing of charges against him till the time the high court decided his plea on dropping the charges.

On September 26, the high court refused to stay the framing of charges against him, and issued a notice to the Goa government seeking its response to his plea. On December 12, the high court had reserved its order on his petition seeking the quashing of rape and other charges against him, without specifying the date.

At the last hearing, Lekhi argued that the charges were without considering the material evidence on record, which he claimed, "shows that the prosecutrix was not restrained, confined or her modesty was outraged by the applicant (Tejpal)". He said after the alleged incident, she was with Tejpal in the same lift for the second time the next day without showing any sign of distress.

The lawyer also claimed that the investigating officer had failed to examine several crucial witnesses named by the prosecutrix in her statement. The investigating officer had also withheld the CCTV footage from the applicant, who got it following a Supreme Court order, Lekhi said.

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