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Goa court acquits journalist Tarun Tejpal in 2013 rape case

Tejpal was facing trial for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel elevator in 2013.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Mapusa |
Updated: May 21, 2021 7:05:02 pm
Former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal outside the district and sessions court in Mapusa, North Goa, on Saturday. (Express Photo)

A sessions court on Tuesday acquitted former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal of all charges in a sexual assault case.

Concluding the trial, the District and Sessions Court in Mapusa in North Goa acquitted Tejpal, who faced charges under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376 (2)(f) (person in position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)(k) (rape by person in position of control).

Tejpal had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa during an event in November 2013. Tejpal, who was arrested on November 30, 2013, was later released on bail and has been contesting the allegations since then.

Reading a statement on behalf of Tejpal, his daughter Cara said: “In November 2013, I (Tejpal) was falsely accused of sexual assault by a colleague. Today the Hon’ble trial court of Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi, in Goa, has honourably acquitted me. In an awfully vitiated age, where ordinary courage has become rare, I thank her for standing by the truth.”

The Goa government is expected to challenge the verdict in the High Court.

During the trial, the prosecution examined 71 witnesses and cross examined five defence witnesses. The case of the prosecution mainly hinged on the statement of the victim, statements of some of her colleagues and electronic evidence including e-mails and WhatsApp messages.

In February 2014, the Goa Police Crime Branch had filed a 2,846-page chargesheet against Tejpal that was divided into 12 volumes, and includes the statements of 152 witnesses.

The examination-in-chief of the victim, the prosecution’s first witness, was held in court by the prosecution in March 2018. The trial resumed in October 2019, after Tejpal had moved the Bombay High Court and then the Supreme Court for quashing the charges against him, pleas that were turned down by both.

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