Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Bombay High Court to decide on Tarun Tejpal’s plea for his discharge expeditiously in connection with an alleged rape case filed against him in 2013. The apex court has also asked a Goa court asked the lower court in the state to conduct the trial and to conduct examination of the witnesses in the case. Earlier on September 28, the Goa court had framed charges of rape and wrongful confinement against the founder of Tehelka magazine, paving the way for his trial. 54-year-old, however, had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The former Tehelka editor is alleged to have sexually assaulted a former colleague inside the elevator of a five- star hotel in Goa in 2013. He had been arrested on November 30, 2013 by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He was given bail in May 2014.
In September, Additional district sessions judge in Mapusa, Vijaya Pol, framed charges against Tejpal under IPC sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 354 A (sexual harassment) and B (criminal assault with intent to disrobe a woman), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement). Tejpal faces a minimum 10-year jail term if he is found guilty of rape, according to reports.
On September 26, Bombay High Court at Goa had refused to stay the framing of charges against him, while issuing notice to the state government. The high court had, however, restrained the district court from examining the evidence in this case.
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Here’s a timeline of the Tarun Tejpal’s case so far:
November 7, 2013: Tarun Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a female employee inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa.
November 20, 2013: Tejpal stepped down as the editor-in-chief of Tehelka in the wake of sexual assault allegations.
November 21, 2013: Goa police launched the investigation into the alleged sexual assault by Tejpal.
November 23, 2013: Two days later, Goa police lodged an FIR against Tejpal in a case of rape and outrage of modesty after being accused by a junior colleague of sexually assaulting her while they were in the state to attend a conference organised by the publication.
November 30, 2013: A sessions court denied anticipatory bail to Tejpal, stating that his case lacked merit. He was subsequently arrested and lodged at Sada sub-jail.
February 17, 2014: A charge sheet was filed against Tejpal by the Goa crime branch. The chargesheet reproduced Tejpal’s “formal apology e-mail” written to the woman and Tehelka’s then managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, in which he says, “…I apologise unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgement that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions on 7 November and 8 November 2013, despite your clear reluctance that you did not want such attention from me”. In the “Atonement” email, Tejpal wrote, “The last days have been most testing and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for.”
June 16, 2017: A sessions court accepted Tejpal’s request to hold the rape proceedings in-camera and barred media from covering it.