Goa police files appeal against Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal in High Court

Tejpal was acquitted by the Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi at the dedicated fast track court in Goa on May 21.
File photo: Founder-editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal. (PTI)
File photo: Founder-editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal. (PTI)
Published on May 26, 2021 12:08 AM IST
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ByGerard de Souza

The Goa government has approached the Bombay High Court at Goa challenging the acquittal of journalist and former editor of the Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal, HT has learnt.

Tejpal was acquitted by the Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi at the dedicated fast track court in Goa on May 21 with the judge saying that there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a conviction and proceeded to give him the benefit of doubt.

No sooner than the verdict was pronounced in court, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who was addressing a press conference later in the day, claimed that the state would file an appeal “as soon as possible” and that “a woman has been wronged” with Tejpal’s acquittal.

The chief minister, who claimed that he had personally seen the evidence and documents submitted before the Court, said that “there cannot be an acquittal.”

“I feel a woman has been wronged. The Goa government will not tolerate it. We are filing an appeal in HC as soon as possible,” Sawant had said on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Goa government filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court at Goa which is currently on vacation. The development was confirmed by a member of Tejpal’s legal team, who however said they were yet to be officially intimated.

The judge in her judgement, copies of which were handed out to the parties on Tuesday, gave Tejpal, who is facing charges of sections 376 (rape), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (criminal assault with intent to disrobe a woman), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, the benefit of doubt and acquitted him on account of lack of sufficient evidence.

Tejpal, in a statement after the verdict was pronounced, thanked the court for a fair and impartial trial.

“It is with profound respect that I thank this court for its rigorous impartial and fair trial and for its thorough examination of the CCTV footage and other empirical material on record… I wish to make no further statement at this time and request my family’s privacy be respected as we try and reclaim our broken lives. I will make a comprehensive statement at an appropriate time in the future,” Tejpal said.

“In an awfully vitiated age, where ordinary courage has become rare, I thank her for standing by the truth. The past seven and a half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives. We have felt the boot of the state but through it all, we have cooperated fully with the Goa Police and the legal system, through hundreds of court proceedings. We have unwaveringly followed every mandate of due procedure and abided by every principle of law as laid down in the Constitution. We have also endeavoured to uphold every norm of decency expected in a case like this,” Tejpal said in a written statement handed out to the reporters.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021