Panjim/New Delhi, Nov 29 IBNS | 2 years ago

Former Tehelka Editor-in-Chief and sexual assault accused Tarun Tejpal on Friday was granted interim protection by the court of Principal and Sessions Judge in Panjim.

Principal and Sessions judge Anuja Prabhudesai granted interim protection to Tejpal. This means he cannot be arrested till 2:30 pm on Friday and the matter will be heard again at this time for anticipatory bail.

The lawyers appearing for Tejpal argued before the court that he is ready to cooperate with the police and arrest will not serve the purpose.

They also argued that the summons to his wife reached late night and it was not feasible to reach Goa in such a short time.

Earlier, reports said Tejpal is likely to move the Bombay High Court in Mumbai or Goa for last minite relief.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said Tejpal must come out of his hiding.

"Tejpal must come out of his hiding and put forward his side of the story. It is important for him. He can't keep hiding," said NCW member in-charge of Goa Shamina Shafiq.

Tejpal has reportedly gone missing as a joint team of Goa Police and Delhi Police Crime Branch early Friday raided his residence in Delhi to arrest him.

A team of about seven members of Goa and Delhi Police raided his house at around 6 am on Friday.

Goa Police sources said Tejpal's wife Geetan Tejpal has refused to update the police about his whereabouts.

The team will also reportedly raid residences of his relatives.

The Goa Police said they might declare Tejpal as an absconder and attach his properties if he cannot be traced.

Tejpal could be arrested any time soon after a Goa court on Thursday issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

The Goa Police obtained the warrant moving court after the disgraced journalist failed to appear before them in the case of sexual assault of a woman journalist during an event there earlier this month.

Police had asked him to appear before investigators in Goa by 3 pm on Thursday.

After he failed to appear before the Goa Police, which had summoned Tejpal on Wednesday, the crime branch moved to court for issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant.

Tejpal had sought more time to participate in the investigation.

According to media reports, Tejpal on Thursday evening informed Goa Police that he will appear before them on Friday, after officials hinted that they were ready to arrest him for failing to appear before them by 3 pm.

The Goa Police earlier in the day rejected the plea of Tejpal seeking more time to appear before it here.

"We will act without further delay. We have refused to give him more time," said Goa Police DIG O P Mishra on Thursday.

"When the summon was issued the journey time from Delhi to Goa was taken into account," said Mishra, hinting that he might be arrested.

Asked if he would be arrested now, Mishra did not spell out if Tejpal would be apprehended immediately, but said it is "next logical step." He said the investigation is going on at a logical way and as per requirement.

Tejpal late Nov 20 evening rescued himself from his job for six months after the journalist complained to Tehelka's managing editor Shoma Chaudhury that he allegedly pulled her into an elevator in the Goa resort and sexually assaulted her during the Think festival organised by Tehelka in Goa.

Chaudhury on Thursday resigned from her post amid sexual assault allegations against Tejpal and criticism over her handling of the complaint.

BJP workers on Thursday also protested before the house of Chaudhury and blackened her name plate writing "accused" on it.

(Posted on 29-11-2013)