December 1, 2013 2:42:01 am
An attempt by lawyers of Tarun Tejpal,the founder-editor of Tehelka,to dismiss the alleged sexual assault incident involving him and a young colleague as light-hearted bantering was Saturday summarily rejected by a Goa court,which ruled against him in a plea for grant of anticipatory bail.
Such crimes against women,the judge ruled,fell in a different category and in the interest of the society justify custodial interrogation.
The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the FIR is on its face false,malafide,vexatious,vindictive,and per se illegal. The material on record prima facie reveals that the applicant by his acts,which he has termed as light-hearted banter,had subjected the victim to ignominy,humiliation,and disgrace. Hence,the applicant cannot claim bail on the ground that his arrest would curtail his personal liberty or will cause ignominy,humiliation and disgrace, Anuja Prabhudesai,Principal District and Sessions Judge,Panaji,observed.
The statement of the victim and the documents in the form of emails etc,details of which need not be reproduced here,prima facie indicate that the applicant,who was her mentor and father figure,had not only outraged her modesty but had misused his position,betrayed her trust and violated her body. The email correspondence on record prima facie indicates that the applicant herein had not disputed the incident, the judge observed.
She also noted that initial correspondence of Tejpal further indicates that he was aware that the victim was not a consenting party. But it was only at a later stage that the applicant had changed his version for obvious reasons.
Tejpals lawyers told the court that apart from the light-hearteded bantering with one of the lady colleagues on November 7,only one further meeting took place between them,which lasted a few seconds. The applicant did not have any further interaction with the said colleague and she continued to party and was completely normal all throughout her stay in Goa. She was at every party and social event and stayed out late into the night. There was not a single whisper from any corner including the said lady that any alleged untoward occurrence had taken place during the THiNK Fest, his lawyers said.
Continuing with their stated line hinting at a political conpiracy,Tejpals lawyers named the BJP as being responsible for the case against him. But the judge rejected the attempt by lawyers to build their case on the basis of Tejpals record as the founder-editor or his claim that he was a victim of a political conspiracy. Prabhudesai also observed that Tejpal was not only an influential person but the records prima facie indicate that the applicant has tried to influence the family of the victim.
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