Tejpal should face criminal trial: Jaitley

Last Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 - 15:48

New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley said Friday that some participants in television debates had provided Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal with an escape route after allegations of sexual assault were made against him by a colleague.

Jaitley said suggestions that the victim had the choice of refraining from pursuing a criminal investigation were akin to offering the offender an escape route.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader, who has also been a lawyer in the Supreme Court, asserted that both a departmental inquiry and the trial must go together.

In a post on Facebook, Jaitley said he had glanced at television debates on the serious charges against Tarun Tejpal.

"Regretfully, some participants provided an escape route for the accused. They argued that the victim has a freedom of choice whether to pursue her complaint before the in-house inquiry or pursue a criminal investigation," he said.

Jaitley said a criminal offence is a crime against a victim and also a crime against society.

"This is precisely why the `state` pursues a criminal action. The public exchequer pays for it. There is a larger public interest in punishing a criminal," he said.

The BJP leader said a departmental or in-house inquiry and a criminal trial complement each other.

"They are not alternatives. Punishing an offender acts as an deterrent in the larger interest of the society," Jaitley said, adding that it was everyone`s duty to encourage victims to depose truly and faithfully.

"Public interest must always prevail over private embarrassment. The `alternative option` theory is an accused-friendly approach," he said.

PTI

First Published: Friday, November 22, 2013 - 15:48

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