Tarun Tejpal to face trial in rape case after Bombay HC rejects his discharge plea

Tehelka’s former editor- in-chief Tarun Tejpal is accused of raping a woman colleague during an event in Goa in 2013.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2017 21:39 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Kanchan Chaudhari, Mumbai
Tarun Tejpal,Tehelka,rape
File photo of Tarun Tejpal, founder and editor-in-chief of Tehelka, at the New Delhi airport on his way to Goa.(Reuters)

Former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal will face trial for allegedly raping his junior colleague four years ago, after the Goa branch of the Bombay high court on Wednesday dismissed his plea seeking discharge from the case.

On September 7, 2017, the additional sessions judge, Mapusa, framed charges against Tejpal, making it clear the former Tehelka editor-in-chief will have to face trial for offences punishable under sections 354, 354A, 354B, 341, 342, 376 (2)(f) and 376 (2)(k) of the Indian Penal Code.

Tejpal had then approached the high court seeking discharge, contending primarily that the trial court did not take into consideration the fact that the prosecution case was inherently contradictory. He also argued that the trial court considered certain material — such as the apologies tendered by him on the complainant’s demand — which could not have been used under provisions of the Evidence Act and failed to take into consideration the content of the CCTV footage purportedly showing the survivor’s “normal conduct.”

Justice Nutan Sardessai, however, rejected the arguments advanced on his behalf. The judge said the law of discharge clearly provides that if the assessment of the material gives rise to grave suspicion, the trial court is empowered to frame charges against the accused and proceed with the trial.

The judge said there was no basis to contend the prosecution was inherently contradictory or there was no need for trial, thus making out a case for discharge of the accused. Justice Sardessai also found no force in Tejpal’s claim that the trial court did not duly consider the material on record to come to a conclusion that there was adequate material to frame charges against the former Tehelka editor-in-chief.

Tejpal is accused of raping a junior colleague during an event organised by his magazine in Goa on November 7, 2013. A day later, Tejpal allegedly assaulted the same colleague in the hotel lift. Ten days later, the journalist wrote an email to managing editor Shoma Chaudhary.

On November 22, 2013, the Goa Police filed a formal FI

R in the case. Three days later, on November 25, the complainant resigned from the magazine stating she was deeply traumatised and that nobody from the magazine stood by her. Tejpal was arrested by the police on November 30, 2013, in the case. The trial is going on against him under various sections of IPC.

In his primary appeal, Tejpal had said that the charges of rape against him are false and had blamed the state for delaying the matter for three years. He claimed the case against him was political vendetta.

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 13:01 IST