The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted regular bail to former Tehelka magazine editor Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case, saying he was also entitled to a fair trial.
A bench led by Justice H L Dattu allowed the petition by Tejpal keeping in view that the investigation in the case was over and the chargesheet had also been filed.
The bench said that an accused could not be kept inside the jail for an indefinite period after the chargesheet was filed and that his liberty had to be preserved.
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The court pointed out that Tejpal was still an accused and he had not been convicted of the charges and hence there should not be any injustice to him as far as his right to life and liberty were concerned.
It asked the Goa trial court to conclude the trial within eight months and asked Tejpal not to seek any adjournment.
The bench also asked Tejpal to not make any attempt to influence the trial or tamper with the evidence since that may compel the court to recall its order.
Goa Police opposed the bail plea, alleging there were reasonable apprehensions of his trying to influence he outcome of the case.
The police also alleged that there was an attempt by Tejpal to “assault the psyche of the victim” as her boyfriend had been receiving sham emails from fictitious accounts asking for private photos and messages of their relationship.
The apex court had on May 19 granted him interim bail for three weeks to enable him to attend the cremation of his mother, who had died on May 18, and subsequent rituals. It had on June 3 further extended the interim bail till June 27.
Tejpal, 50, has been chargesheeted for allegedly raping, sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a junior colleague during an event held at a Goa hotel last year.