Tarun Tejpal alleges political vendetta; bail hearing slated to March 4

The Bombay High Court bench in Panaji has deferred Tehelka editor-founder Tarun Tejpal`s bail plea to March 4.

Zee Media Bureau

Panaji: The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday deferred Tarun Tejpal`s bail plea to March 4, a day after the Goa crime branch formally charged the Tehelka editor-in-chief with raping a junior colleague.

Tejpal had approached the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court for bail.

The postponement of the bail hearing by Justice Mridula Bhatkar brings no relief to Tejpal, who has spent 80 days in police and judicial custody since his arrest on November 30.

The high court also called for a copy of the chargesheet filed against Tejpal before the hearing on March 04.

Tejpal was present in the court during hearing of his bail plea. The 50-year-old journalist had contended that his presence was required as he wanted to assist his lawyer during the hearing.

Meanwhile, Tejpal said that political vendetta is the reason behind the rape case filed against him. The ex-Tehelka editor also demanded the CCTV footage of the hotel to be given to him.

On Monday, Tejpal was also charged with sexual harassment and other sections of the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, in the 2,846-page chargesheet, reports IANS.
The chargesheet filed with District and Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudessai contains statements of over 150 witnesses and over 1,400 pages of annexure documents.

The documents include sketches, hotel bill receipts, authenticated copies of e-mail conversations, copies of CCTV grabs and the complaint recorded before a magistrate.

Police sources said a bunch of e-mails written by Tejpal to the woman journalist and to Tehelka`s former managing editor Shoma Chaudhury virtually confirming a sexual encounter was a key evidence mentioned in the chargesheet.

"The last days have been most testing and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for," is a passage from an e-mail from Tejpal that was quoted in the chargesheet.

After the chargesheet was filed by Inspector Sunita Sawant, Deputy Inspector General OP Mishra told reporters that the case was water-tight and that he was hopeful that the trial would be completed within 60 days as per provisions of the amended law after the December 16, 2012, gangrape.

Tejpal has been charged under various charges, including sexual harassment, wrongful restraint, taking advantage of official position, and rape.
The junior woman colleague accused Tejpal of raping her during a high profile conference organised by the Tehelka founder in Goa.

Tejpal, who had initially evaded arrest, was subsequently arrested on November 30 in full media glare.

Mishra also said that attempts made to get Hollywood actor Robert de Niro`s statement proved futile.

The woman journalist was in-charge of chaperoning the Hollywood actor, who was one of the star guests at the conference.

In her complaint to police, the woman said Tejpal used the ruse of visiting de Niro`s suite to sexually assault her on November 07 and 08 in the elevator of a five-star hotel that was hosting the event.

(With IANS inputs)