iconimg Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bhavya Dore, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 19, 2014
The Tehelka journalist allegedly sexually assaulted by the magazine’s co-founder Tarun Tejpal may be an emancipated woman but that is no ground to believe she was not traumatised, the Panaji sessions court said in its 21-page order issued on Saturday, three days after Tejpal was denied bail on January 15.

Tejpal is accused of sexually assaulting a junior colleague during a Tehelka festival in Goa last November and had been behind bars for 45 days till January 14, when his judicial custody was extended by 14 days.

Sessions judge Anuja Prabhudessai rejected Tejpal’s bail plea on the grounds that he may tamper with the evidence, influence witnesses and because he seems prima facie guilty of sexual assault.

“That she (the complainant) is a liberated, emancipated, modern woman who demanded a written apology rather than suffer in silence are no grounds to believe that she was not traumatised or that the act was consensual or could be consensual.”

Tejpal’s counsel Amit Desai had submitted to the court that the complainant was an educated woman who had asked for an apology. He also said there were discrepancies in her statement, contradictions as against the CCTV footage and a delay in lodging her complaint, which raised questions about the genuineness of her allegations. 

The judge, however, found after considering the footage, mails and texts that the material on record suggested that prima facie the journalist’s version was genuine.

“The court cannot be oblivious of the emotional turmoil and the psychological injury that victims suffer on being molested or raped and the ensuing consequences,” the order said.