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The Loopholes in The Investigation May Work in The Favour of The Defence in Tarun Tejpal Rape Case

Tarun Tejpal

The Tarun Tejpal rape case which has now reached the final stage of arguments increases the chances of Tejpal getting away with it due to the lack of proper evidence against him and the loopholes in the primary investigations. 

“There is evidence on record of CCTV footage which totally demolishes the case. There is nothing in this case. The falsity of the case in the prosecution evidence itself,” said defense lawyer Rajeev Gomes on the rape case filed against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal. 

Addressing the media outside the trial court in Mapusa on Saturday after presenting his final arguments in the alleged rape case against Tehelka founder-editor, Gomes said that there were several points missing in the police investigation, which have been pointed out in written and oral arguments before the court. 

“Empirical evidence which could be collected has not been done. For example, the emergency button which was according to them used to stop the lift to commit the offense was never checked by the investigation officer. I cannot say anything more now. There is so much of material. We will wait for the judgment,” he added.

The hearing in the alleged sexual assault case is in the final stage and the trial court is in the process of hearing the final arguments of both the prosecution and the defense. The prosecution is expected to give its rejoinder on the defense arguments on Monday.

The proceedings in the rape trial were being conducted in-camera and the media has been barred from entering the court premises.

Tarun Tejpal, a veteran journalist and the former Tehelka magazine’s editor-in-chief, was accused of sexual assault by a female colleague in November 2013. The female colleague accused Tejpal of raping her in the elevator of a  hotel in Goa where the magazine was hosting a conclave in November 2013.

Going on with her complaint, Goa Police had taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and lodged an FIR against Tejpal on November 22, 2013. He was subsequently charge-sheeted under Sections 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) 354A (sexual harassment), and 354B (criminal assault), of the Indian Penal Code.

Tejpal was arrested and sent to custody where he remained nearly for a year before being released on bail. On September 29, 2017, the Goa court had charged him under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape, sexual harassment, and wrongful confinement. He, however, pleaded not guilty.

Following the framing of charges, Tejpal had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges leveled against him. In August, the top court refused to quash the charges and directed the trial to be concluded within six months. 

Last week, the Bombay High Court had dismissed that hotel CCTV footage will demolish prosecution, says defense lawyer in his plea seeking postponement of the hearing till December on the grounds that his lawyer was busy with another matter.

The Supreme Court had fixed the deadline for concluding the trial to March 31, 2021.

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