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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Tejpal's 'political conspiracy' defence missing in court

IANS  Panaji, December 01, 2013
First Published: 13:22 IST(1/12/2013) | Last Updated: 16:35 IST(1/12/2013)

Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal's public stance that the rape victim's complaint was politically coloured and a part of a larger conspiracy is missing from his anticipatory bail application. 

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The application makes no mention of politics motivating the complainant, his junior employee, to hurl rape charges against him.

North Goa district and sessions judge Anuja Prabhudessai denied anticipatory bail to Tejpal on Saturday and cleared the road for his arrest.

"The applicant has nowhere stated in his application that the victim made the accusation under political pressure or at the behest of any political party," Prabhudessai said in her order.

"There is no material on record that the applicant is prosecuted as a pre-planned conspiracy or that the investigation is biased or tainted," she has further said.

She added that "subsequent comments, statements, or acts of any political party are not relevant considerations for deciding the application".

In his only statement to the media before surfacing at the Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport on Friday, Tejpal said of the incident that his lawyers "are aware of the political forces driving much of it now".

The court order says there was prima facie indication in the email messages and the victim's statement that Tejpal, "who was her mentor and father figure, had not only outraged her modesty but had misused his position, betrayed her trust and violated her body".

Refuting the claims made by Tejpal's legal team that the victim's delay in complaining about the rape raised doubts about her intentions, Prabhudessai said victims of such crime undergo physical and mental trauma and humiliation and these factors often delay a filing of complaint.

"Their reputation, dignity, honour, future prospects and financial security are at stake, and often the victims and their family members are subjected to social ridicule," she said.

The order also rejects Tejpal's assertion that the sexual assault claimed by the girl was simply "light-hearted banter".

Making a broader comment, the judge, while justifying custodial interrogation, observed: "The offences alleged are crimes against the women and society in general and, if not properly investigated, can destroy the psyche of women and basic fabric of the society."

Tejpal, who is presently in police custody, was taken for a mandatory medical examination Saturday night. He will be produced before a judicial magistrate for police remand by Sunday afternoon.

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