A sessions court in Mapusa on Friday accepted former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal’s request, made under CrPC Section 327(2), to hold the rape proceedings against him in-camera. Tejpal’s counsel Pramod Kumar Dubey moved the application soon after the court of Judge Vijaya Pol took up the matter in the afternoon. He told the judge to allow only Tejpal’s family members and his counsel to be present in the courtroom, and request mediapersons and others to vacate the room, which the judge agreed to.
Tejpal, accused of rape by a then woman colleague during an event hosted by the magazine in Goa in November 2013, was on Friday accompanied by seven family members, including his wife and brother Minty Tejpal.
Tejpal was booked under IPC Sections 376, 376(2)(f) and 376(2) (k). Goa Police’s Crime Branch presented the chargesheet on February 17, 2014.
While the prosecution has put forward its case — backed by the victim’s statement, statements of colleagues, and digital evidence, including a letter of apology by Tejpal — Public Prosecutor Francisco Tavora said the defence team will present their arguments on Friday and Saturday. The court will frame charges subsequently.
Appearing for Tejpal, advocate Rajiv Gomes had, in April, told the court that the defence had “sufficient data” to quash the allegations.
Back then, Tavora had said that the defence team had initially requested for footage of all CCTV cameras from the Goa hotel where the alleged crime took place. “The footage…was provided to them,” Tavora had said in April outside the court premises.
Defence lawyers had sought “clone copies” of the SIM card and phone memory of the victim’s phone to collect messages sent and received, as also “deleted”. While the forensic evidence were given in soft and hard copies, Tejpal’s counsels told the court that they needed “clone copies”.
The clone copy of the material was handed over to the defence lawyers in March this year, Tavora said.
Sources privy to details of both copies said the material evidence remains the same.