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Tejpal remanded to six days in police custody

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Panaji, Dec 1 :

A Goa court Sunday remanded Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal to six days in police custody.

Crime Branch officials told the court that custodial interrogation of Tejpal was necessary to obtain a confession from him. They had sought 14 days remand for Tejpal.

Tarun Tejpal
Tarun Tejpal

Tejpal is expected to be quizzed by police inspector Sunita Sawant, the investigating officer, about the series of events leading to the alleged rape of a woman colleague and his later flip flops.

Tejpal is likely to be confronted with the CCTV footage which media reports suggest shows the colleague in distress while running out of the elevator in a Goa resort where she was allegedly raped twice.

Tejpal was arrested late Saturday, more than 10 days after the junior colleague accused him of raping her twice in the elevator in November.

The accused has denied any wrongdoing in public statements and in his anticipatory bail petition, rejected by a Goa court Saturday.

Tejpal was Saturday sent to a government hospital for a mandatory medical examination and later lodged in police lock up.

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.

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 Saturday denied anticipatory bail to Tejpal 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 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. (IANS)