Supreme Court gives ultimatum of March 31 to complete trial in sexual assault case against Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal

SC gave an ultimatum of March 31 to finish the trial of Tarun Tejpal for sexually abusing a young lady journo

SC gave an ultimatum of March 31 to finish the trial of Tarun Tejpal for sexually abusing a young lady journo
SC gave an ultimatum of March 31 to finish the trial of Tarun Tejpal for sexually abusing a young lady journo

The trial court in Mapusa had framed charges against Tejpal under various sections of the IPC

Supreme Court on Tuesday gave an ultimatum of March 31, 2021, to finish the trial of Tehelka Magazine’s founder Editor Tarun Tejpal for sexually abusing a young lady journalist. The Apex Court Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah observed that the main delay in finishing the trial is due to Tejpal’s lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s objection conducting the cross-examination of the victim lady journalist through video conferencing as suggested by the Goa trial court. Earlier the trial court (before the COVID-19 situation) many times warned Tejpal’s lawyers for bullying the lady journalist during cross-examination.

Many Tejpal’s friend-journalists (Boys Club with some veteran-friendly lady journos) for the past seven years were planting all kinds of fake stories in TV and print media against the girl and her deposition about the molestation by Tejpal inside a lift of a hotel in Goa in November 2013. Tejpal sexually abused the lady journalist in Hyatt Hotel in Goa during a seminar arranged by Tehelka. The molested girl who worked at Tehelka was Tejpal’s daughter’s age and he was very close to the family of the victim, whose father was also a veteran journalist.

Credit goes to late Manohar Parrikar, the then Goa Chief Minister for ordering the arrest of Tarun Tejpal in November 2013. He was arrested on November 30, 2013, by the crime branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court.

PGurus had reported a series of articles on the seven-year delay in the trial and frauds played by Tarun Tejpal to delay the case. There were allegations that Tejpal’s “Boys Club” was trying to lure the lady journo by offering big scholarships and lucrative jobs to another of her friend journalist by placing in good posts in many organizations[1].

After getting bail in last week of May 2014 citing his mother’s death, Tejpal was playing all kinds of delaying tactics by challenging the Goa trial court’s every procedure by appealing to the High Court to Supreme Court with flimsy issues. In 2019, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had ordered that Tejpal must face trial, putting end to all his dirty tricks. Next followed Tejpal’s Boys Club’s maligning stories against the Justice Arun Mishra[2].

Credit goes to late Manohar Parrikar, the then Goa Chief Minister for ordering the arrest of Tarun Tejpal in November 2013. He was arrested on November 30, 2013, by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Court. He has been out on bail since May 2014. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Bench that the trial judge has made a request for an extension of time. The Goa government had earlier moved the top court seeking extension of time to complete the trial.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal (who was also the initial donor of Tehelka), appearing for Tejpal, said the apex court had already extended the time till December 31 this year for completion of the trial and the Bench may put up the matter for hearing in the last week of December or in January. “If the trial is completed by December end, then this application by the trial judge would become infructuous and if it is not completed, then time can be extended,” Sibal said.

“There is no question of completion of trial by December 31 as there are witnesses to be examined. It will be better if we extend it till March 31,” the Bench observed. The Bench said, “The problem is Mr. Sibal you are not even ready for video-conferencing or it would have got completed in two months.”

The apex court, while taking the application seeking an extension of time on record, extended it till March 31 next year. The trial court in Mapusa town of Goa had framed charges against Tejpal under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sexual harassment. The apex court had last year dismissed Tejpal’s plea seeking quashing of charges framed against him in the case.

References:

[1] SC Orders to finish the trial in Editor Tejpal rape case in six months. Trial to start on Sept 23Aug 20, 2019, PGurus.com

[2] Tarun Tejpal must face trial in sexual assault case: Goa Police to SC. If innocent, why did you apologise to the girl: SC asked TejpalAug 7, 2019, PGurus.com

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