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Tehelka case: Tarun Tejpal expected in Goa on Friday,faces arrest on rape charge

Goa police rejected Tejpal's request for extension of time to appear before it.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |
Updated: February 6, 2014 4:16:03 pm

Moving towards his imminent arrest,the Goa Police on Thursday rejected Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal’s plea seeking two more days to appear before it in connection with the allegations that he sexually assaulted a junior colleague.

Tejpal,who had been called on Thursday,is expected to appear before the investigating team on Friday. “We have sent a fax to the Goa Police and have informed them that he will join the investigation tomorrow,” his counsel Sandeep Kapur said. Police sources confirmed that they had received the fax.

Confirming that they have started the procedure of arresting Tejpal,Goa Police DIG O P Mishra said,“Kissiko is cheez ka sandeh nahi hona chahiye,probe ka next logical step wohi hai (nobody should have a doubt about this,arrest is the next logical step)”. Police sources added that Tejpal would be arrested “whenever the investigating team comes face to face with him”.

Earlier in the day,Tejpal withdrew his anticipatory bail plea from the Delhi High Court,saying he would file a fresh plea “before the appropriate court”. The court was set to hear the plea on Friday. Tejpal’s counsel,senior advocate Geeta Luthra,informed the court that the petition was being withdrawn,and sought leave to file a fresh plea before the appropriate court.

The withdrawal of the petition is being seen as a move to protect Tejpal from a possible adverse order by the Delhi High Court. If the court had dismissed his plea,or given any adverse remarks in the judgment,it would have negatively affected his chances of getting relief from the Goa courts,which would have taken the High Court’s observations into account.

Addressing a press conference in Panjim,Mishra said,“Notice was issued… to Tarun Tejpal to appear before the investigating officer (IO) at 3 pm on Thursday. It was duly served on him and received by his family members,but today,till 3 pm,he failed to appear. At 12 noon,we received a letter which was signed by Tarun Tejpal and addressed to the investigating officer seeking extension for appearance. Since he is not in Goa,he sought appearance by Saturday. The same copy was served by one of his advocates here at the Dona Paula Crime Branch office.”

Police sources Tejpal was called after duly studying the time taken to travel from New Delhi to Goa and the availability of flights. “Keeping in view the seriousness of the case,the IO has not accepted the request for extension and she will further proceed in the case as the law empowers,” said Mishra,adding,“we are proceeding to take legal steps without further delay.”

Meanwhile,six kilometres from the Dona Paula Crime Branch office,the investigating team assisted the victim in mapping the “crime scene” at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Bambolim.

According to officials,the victim has corroborated her version thrice,first with investigating officer Sunita Sawant in Mumbai,then in front of the magistrate,and the third time through the reconstruction of the incident at the hotel. Sources said her statement has also been established by the CCTV footage sourced from the hotel authorities,with the victim identifying the lift and the corridor where Tejpal is reported to have chased her.

Under the criminal procedure code,while it is not necessary for the victim to revisit the crime scene,the accused must be physically present at the site and establish the sequence in front of at least two panch witness.

Mishra said they have gone “by the textbook” while taking each step in the case. With the victim’s statement recorded in front of a lady magistrate,and an immigration checkpost alert issued against Tejpal,police officials said the next obvious step is Tejpal’s arrest. Sources said Tejpal would be kept in the central lock-up,a two-room space inside the Goa Police headquarters,as the Dona Paula Crime Branch office does not have sufficient space.

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