Tehelka Magazine Editor Tarun Tejpal’s rape case is now in its third year and the trial is paused due to the sheer abuse of legal procedures by his highflying legal team. The trial in the Magistrate’s Court is blocked due to Tejpal’s curious demand for the supply of CCTV footages and mobile transcripts exchanged between the victim lady journalist and her friend journalists in Supreme Court challenging the decisions by the Prosecution of Goan Police for the past one year.
Tejpal was caught for trying to sexually abuse a young journalist in the first week of November 2013, at a five star hotel in Goa.
In May 2015, Supreme Court once ordered for completing the trial in Magistrate Court in Goa within a year, after sensing the crude activities of Tejpal’s legal team to delay the trial. Tejpal who was arrested in November 2013 got bail from Supreme Court citing the death of his mother in mid 2014. Congress leader Salman Khurshid was leading the battery of lawyers for the rape accused editor.
Tejpal was caught for trying to sexually abuse a young journalist in the first week of November 2013, at a five star hotel in Goa. Tejpal’s Tehelka was organizing a highflying seminar called ‘ThinkFest’ and the young victim in her late 20s was deputed to be a volunteer to escort/ assist the VIPs.
Tejpal tried to molest the lady journalist in an elevator (lift) and her Organization – Tehelka first tried to suppress the issue. Tejpal’s deputy Shoma Chowdhury was accused for trying to protect him. When Social Media and BJP leaders took up the issue, the Goa Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) and arrested Tejpal by the last week of November, 2013.
The Supreme Court, on several occasions warned the legal team of Tejpal for trying to delay the trial procedures by raising flimsy issues. The apex Court ordered in May 2015 to finish the trial in a year. But the trial has still not started as Tejpal started approaching legal forums with a series of demands such as supply of CCTV visuals of the alleged rape incident in the hotel, and mobile phone messages between the victim and her colleague journalists.
This is a rape case where the accused is a journalist, the victim and the witnesses are also journalists. But the journalist community is now keeping quiet. No media is talking about the delay in trial, which is literally paused or stayed. No one is asking as why it is delayed even after the Supreme Court directed to finish the trial by May 2016.
The journalist community is not helping the cause of one of its own by maintaining a loud silence.
Goa Police and its Prosecutors can act fast by challenging Tejpal’s legal team’s cunning moves but like their cousins the Delhi Police (Sunanda case), they are indulging in masterly inactivity. The journalist community is not helping the cause of one of its own by maintaining a loud silence. Are they being silenced by Tejpal’s Bad Boys Club in Delhi and Mumbai? What is sad to note is that many senior women journalists were also engaged in covert operations to scuttle this case by floating doubts in the case. Some scribes, both men and women planted fake stories and articles in the media to try and save their friend Tejpal.
Why are the young journalists, the friends who are witnesses in this case keeping quiet? Have senior journalists threatened them or lured them? These young journalists are writing on so many topics, but they keep silence in this case, where they are supposed to act or speak.
What is known is that many witnesses and the alleged victim journalist are engaged in lucrative research assignments. It is a fact that in January 2014, a famous Left Liberal funding NGO based in Bangalore headed by a historian and an IT czar had granted Rs. 12 lakh rupees ($18,000) as a scholarship to the victim to write a book on violence against women. Coincidence?
If the Goa Police and Prosecution team continues to keep silent, as a victim, the young journalist has every right to go to any forum including the Supreme Court to alert about the present stalemate created by the accused Tejpal. She can take the services of a battery of feminist lawyers in the country who hopefully will take it up as a pro-bono case. The victim’s friend journalists, who are also witnesses can help her in this regard. Otherwise, they would be accused of exacting a price to keep their silence.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 68.52 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
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