Journalist Tarun Tejpal was on Thursday charged with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint by a Goa court. Tehelka's former editor-in-chief is accused of sexually assaulting and raping a former woman colleague in 2013.
Tejpal has been charged under sections 342 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape), among others. His counsel Rajiv Gomes expressed disappointment at Additional District and Sessions Judge Vijaya Pol's order but added that the framing of charges was not a setback to Tejpal.
The counsel said the defence hoped that its appeal pending before the Bombay High Court's Panaji bench would reverse the lower court`s order.
The trial in the case will begin from November 21. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Tejpal had on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court after the court in Goa refused to drop the charges against him.
On September 26, while hearing a primary appeal petition filed by Tejpal to seek a stay on framing of charges, the High Court had directed that the trial should resume only after its go-ahead but refused to stay the processes of the formal framing of charges against the former Editor, which was requested by defence lawyers.
"I had contended before the Sessions Court that the explanation of the charge(s) to the accused should be deferred because we are hopeful -- we are confident -- that we will get a discharge from the High Court. Because we know that there is no case in the prosecution. We are disappointed with the order of the trial court. We are hopeful that we will get relief from the High Court," Gomes said.
North Goa's Additional District and Sessions Court also asked for a status report on a petition filed by Tejpal before the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court related to the forthcoming trial.