Lawyers for former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal reiterated on Wednesday that there was “absolutely nothing” in the CCTV footage that incriminated their client in the rape case he is fighting.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court in Panaji on Wednesday allowed Tejpal to access the entire feed from CCTV cameras at the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, for the period November 7-10, 2013.
Tejpal is alleged to have raped a former junior colleague inside the hotel’s lift. Investigators have placed the CCTV feeds as the primary evidence on record.
The defence on Wednesday evening received a copy of the footage produced as evidence by the Goa Police Crime Branch. Counsel for Tejpal Raunaq Rao said, “The investigation agency has made a request to the court that no portion of the footage should be made public as it could reveal the identity of the victim. We will adhere to it.
“We viewed the footage and found there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that incriminates our client. We wanted the footage of those relevant portions of the days alleged. We are satisfied at this stage. In future, after reading the charge-sheet, if we feel the need for additional viewing or any other material evidence, we will make a suitable appeal,” Rao said.
On Tuesday, Tejpal issued a statement accusing the police of filing a “highly spurious” chargesheet from which “the most crucial piece of evidence, the CCTV footage of the incident”, was missing. Goa Police officers said that in order to protect the victim’s identity, the footage had been given only to the court, and it was up to the court to decide whether to release it to the accused.
On Wednesday, the court directed that the ‘muddemal’, or seized evidence, should be opened on its premises and under its supervision, and a copy of all CCTV feed be given to all three direct stakeholders — the prosecution, Tejpal’s counsel, and the investigating team from the Dona Paula Crime Branch. The footage includes several hours of feed from the cameras on the ground floor, first floor and second floor, including lift and lobby areas, of Guest House 3 and 7 of the hotel.
Victim told the judge that she was being forced to relive the incident as she was made to appear in court again.