The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave regular bail to Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting his junior colleague and warned him it could curtail his liberty if there was attempt to contact witnesses including the complainant of the case.
A bench of justice HL Dattu and justice SA Bobde directed Tejpal not to seek any “unnecessary adjournments” in the case and fixed a deadline of eight months for the court in Goa to conclude the trial.
The bench said denial of bail to Tejpal would curtail his liberty and deny him a fair trial that includes letting him have free access to his lawyers. It kept Tejpal’s petition pending to enable Goa move the court to cancel his bail if Tejpal violates the conditions.Watch: Tarun Tejpal granted bail in sexual assault case
“You please tell your client not to disobey with our orders. If there is any violation we won’t give you a hearing the next time,” the court verbally told Tejpal’s counsel, senior advocate Salman Khurshid.
Arrested on November 30, 2013, Tejpal was released on May 18 to attend his mother’s funeral. His plea to extend his interim bail was allowed on June 3 and he had protection till Tuesday from any arrest. There are 152 witnesses in the case and the trial is yet to begun.
“He has not been convicted. He is just an accused. At the end of the day it is his freedom and he is also entitled for fair trial which also means freedom to meet his counsel,” the bench said.