Panaji, Dec 1 IBNS | 2 years ago

Former Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal, who was arrested by the Goa Police on Saturday after his anticipatory bail was rejected in the case of sexual assault charge, will be produced before a judicial magistrate on Sunday.

The magistrate will decide the duration of his remand with the police.

A Goa sessions court on Saturday denied anticipatory bail to Tejpal over sexual assault charge of his junior colleague inside a hotel lift here earlier this month during a high profile event.

The court's order was followed by his arrest on Saturday night.

Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a woman journalist of his organisation during the Think festival of Tehelka in Goa where ironically the participants were debating on issues like rape. The action of Tejpal is considered as rape under the new definition of the anti-rape law in India.

"The statement of the victim and the documents in the form of emails etc., details of which need not be reproduced here, prima facie indicate that the applicant, who was her mentor and father figure, had not only outraged her modesty but had misused his position, betrayed her trust and violated her body," Judge Anuja Prabhudesai observed in her 25-page order.

If convicted, Tejpal's punishment could range from a minimum 10 years in jail to life imprisonment.

Tejpal has spent Saturday night in the Panaji lock-up, which is hardly four kms away from the Crime Branch.

Following his arrest, Tejpal was taken for medical examination at Goa medical college and hospital in Bambolim.

However, he was allowed to meet his lawyers and wear clothes from home as was the request put forth by his lawyers. He was even allowed to have food from home, but as per the law.

Immediately after the court rejected Tejpal's bail plea, his lawyer Geeta Luthra told reporters, "The court has rejected the bail plea. But the important thing is we have joined the investigation and we have cooperated with the Crime Branch."

Reacting to the court's order, Shyam Keswani, who is assisting the young woman journalist in the case, said the court did the right thing.

"In such a serious matter it is even foolish to think that you can get an anticipatory bail. The matter is non-bailable in my opinion. I think the judge pronounced the right decision," Keswani told media.

Speaking about the defence's course of action, he said, "The lawyers will do their best, they will go to higher courts and the Supreme Court, but that means nothing... This is a very serious offence."

In a reaction to the court's order, Bharaiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted: "Tejpal bail rejected ..........Gather thistles and expect pickles."

To avoid his arrest, Tejpal had even offered to submit his passport in the court on Saturday.

The court earlier in the day reserved its order on his bail plea between 4:30-5 pm.

The North District and Sessions Court reserved its order after both Tejpal's lawyer Geeta Luthra and Special Public Prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar concluded their respective arguments in the case.

Luthra concluded her arguments saying Tejpal has a house in Goa and whether or not he has a house here, he is ready to stay in the state.

"I will not leave Goa. I will give my mobile number and location here. I will not go to Mumbai where the victim stays, so there will be no tampering with evidence," Luthra told the court on his behalf.

She said Tejpal should not be subjected to pre-trial harassment and humiliation.

"The rape law has become more stringent and strict; so all the more accused require to defend himself," she said.

Special Public Prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar sought 14-day police custody for Tejpal.

"The victim's first and last statements are consistent. But Tejpal's versions has been changing," said Lotlikar.

"Custodial interrogation required so that he is properly questioned and not guided by people or a battery of lawyers on this case. Therefore, 14 days' police custody is required," said the Special Public Prosecutor.

As Tejpal left the court with his family and lawyers, an attempt was made to hurl a black cloth piece at him.

Earlier on Saturday morning, Tejpal made his appearance before Principal Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudesai as the court resumed hearing his bail plea.

Tejpal was initially not present in the court.

He had been to the Goa Police Crime Branch uninvited before 9 am and left at about 9:15 am.

He told the waiting media outside the Crime Branch (CB) that he is cooperating with the investigation.

Tejpal was questioned by the Crime Branch for over one and a half hours on Friday.

Tejpal emerged out of the Crime Branch office at around 9:10 pm accompanied by his lawyers and brothers but refused to speak to the media.

(Posted on 01-12-2013)