SUPREME COURT SET ASIDE THE STAY PLEA OF TARUN TEJPAL, AND ASKS THE TRAIL COURT TO PROCEED WITH THE DEPOSITION OF WITNESSES, IN AN ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE

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Tarun Tejpal, the Founder of Tehelka online portal and magazine, is presently stationed in Goa. He is out on a bail, in an alleged sexual assault case filed by one of the junior reporters. The incident that supposes to have taken place in the year 2013 at a Five-star Hotel in Goa, has around 151 prosecution witnesses, who are yet to depose in this case. The matter was initially pending with High Court, and later on in the Supreme Court. But, Finally, on December 6 the Apex Court has set aside the stay appeal filed by Tejpal, and asked the trial court to start examining the witnesses in this case…

The story of an alleged sexual assault by the Tehelka Chief become the talk of a town in the media during the year 2013, in the midst of an ongoing event at a five-star hotel in Goa. According to the reports, Mr Tejpal, who was a part of the event, that was going on in Goa, and during that time, one of the junior reporter working under him had alleged a sexual assault on her by the Tehelka Chief, Tarun Tejpal.

According to the victim, the incident took place inside the elevator of the hotel where the accused and victim were saying. It was reported that Tejpal had allegedly, sexually assaulted a former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013 but, Tejpal has denied all allegations leveled against him.

It is a common experience that whenever bail is granted, the accused is not in a hurry to complete the trial

The apex court asked the Bombay High Court, which had earlier directed the trial court not to examine the witnesses, to decide within three months the plea filed by Tejpal challenging framing of charges against him.

When the matter came up for hearing before a bench in the Apex court, comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao. Tejpal’s counsel argued that the high court has asked the trial court not to proceed with the examination of witnesses in the case. Senior advocate Aman Lekhi and advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, representing Tejpal, told the bench that they have not delayed the case in any manner and there are 151 prosecution witnesses in the matter. Lekhi also claimed that the police had withheld the footage of CCTV camera which was installed in the corridor outside the lift of the hotel.

Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted a former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. Tejpal has denied all allegations leveled against him.

The public prosecutor representing the state had argued the matter before the bench saying that, although there are 151 witnesses in the case to be examined by the trial court and Tejpal had moved to the High Court challenging the framing of charges in this case. “Though there were 151 prosecution witnesses in the case, several might be dropped during the trial,” he added.

The apex court has also observed a delay in the case, the trial of which was supposed to get over within one years time but, nothing has been done to date. “It is a common experience that whenever bail is granted, the accused is not in a hurry to complete the trial,” the bench observed while making it clear that it was not saying that Tejpal was delaying the case.

The Apex court had also observed that it may be appropriate for the high court to dispose of the criminal revision petition pending before it as early as possible and in any case not later than three months from today. We make it clear that in the meanwhile, there shall be no stay of trial and witnesses may be examined in accordance with the law. The bench also observed that the revision plea should be decided on its own merits and the apex court’s order would have no bearing on it.

Mr.Tejpal who is on the bail since 2014 was initially had filed an anticipatory bail before the court and was not traceable for some time after the court had rejected his plea. Now that finally, the trial will begin, let’s wait and watch how many years that takes to complete.

SOURCE: THE QUINT | FREE PRESS JOURNAL

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