Timeline of Rape Case Against Tarun Tejpal: What Happened So Far?
The case assumes significance as the probe primarily relies on the ‘position of trust’ clause.
A Goa court on Thursday charged former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal for rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint, in an alleged sexual assault case dating back to 2013.
Tejpal was accused of rape by a junior colleague on 7 November 2013, who alleged that she was assaulted by the former editor in the elevator of the Grand Hyatt in Panaji, where the publication held its annual Think Fest.
The case came into light when on several media houses published a leaked trail of emails exchanged between Tejpal, the victim and managing editor of Tehelka Shoma Chaudhary, subsequently resulting in Tejpal stepping down as editor-in-chief for six months to ‘recuse’ himself.
Based on media reports of the leaked email trail, the crime branch of the Goa police launched a preliminary probe the following day, leading to an FIR against Tejpal on three charges of sexual assault harassment and rape.
On 30 November 2013, Tejpal arrived at Goa from Delhi, where he was denied anticipatory bail and arrested by the police. According to India Today, the local court hearing Tejpal’s bail plea held that the statements provided by the victim, and the material produced as evidence in the case prima facie state 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.”
Tejpal was lodged in the Sada sub-jail in Goa’s Vasco, and a chargesheet was formally filed against him on 17 February 2014 for rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of his colleague.
On 19 May, the Supreme Court granted him three weeks of interim bail to attend the final rites of mother, which was later extended to six weeks. On 1 July 2014, the Supreme Court granted Tejpal bail, citing the 17 February chargesheet.
The two-judge bench headed by Justice HL Dattu observed that “an accused not yet convicted of a crime and had every right to a fair trial, which included liberty to freely interact with lawyers to work up a good defence.”
On 26 September, the Bombay High Court refused to stay the framing of charges against Tejpal, and issued a notice to the Goa government seeking its response to the senior journalist's plea.
Earlier on 7 September, the district court in Mapusa refused to drop the charges against Tejpal, following which he had moved the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court. Tejpal had sought a stay on framing of charges against him till the time the HC has decided his plea on dropping the charges.
On 28 September 2017, a trial court will formally frame nine charges against Tejpal, of which five are of rape. An Indian Express report said that the new charges that have been slapped on Tejpal include sections 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 376 (2) (f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women) and 376C IPC (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and Section 354 IPC.
The court has decided that Tejpal will go on trial for all charges. This case is touted to be of significance as the probe primarily relies on the ‘position of trust’ clause.
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