The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended till June 27 the interim bail of former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case. This will enable him to perform rituals pertaining to his mother’s demise.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan extended the interim bail, saying the court was “satisfied” that the relief should be extended till June 27.
Former External Affairs minister and senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tejpal, said that certain rituals after the death of his mother are yet to be performed and the interim bail should be extended by at least three more weeks.
The request was opposed by the counsel for Goa Police, pointing out that the bail could not be extended time and again for performing rituals.
The court, however, questioned the counsel as to why the police wanted Tejpal behind the bars if the investigation in the case was already over. “Give us one good reason as to why he should not be granted interim bail. Due to the red-tapism, he could not attend his mother’s funeral and this court should do something to redeem that,” the bench said.
At this, the counsel for the police told the court that Tejpal had been found using a SIM card inside the jail and there have been allegations that he threatened the investigating officer in the case and attempted to influence the victim’s mother. “We have well grounded apprehensions that the accused may try to influence the witness and tamper with the evidence,” he added.
Khurshid defended Tejpal saying that the court could examine all these allegations while hearing the case, but the reprieve should be granted in the interim.
“There are no allegations of any violence against the petitioner. There are technical issues to be decided since the case has been lodged under a new law. All this could be decided subsequently,” Khurshid said.
The court then passed the order granting Tejpal bail till June 27 while making it clear that he will have to keep appearing before the trial court in the case.