Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal moved the Supreme Court on Thursday, opposing a move by the Goa trial court to proceed with the sexual assault case against him without his getting all the relevant documents.
The petition, filed through advocate Sandeep Kapur, is likely to be mentioned before a bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu for an urgent hearing on Friday. It is also probable that Tejpal’s lawyers would press for a stay of the trial proceedings till the time they receive all the documents from the prosecution, in order to effectively argue against the charges slapped against Tejpal.
According to the petition, the trial court has decided to go ahead with the arguments on framing of the charges, citing an order of the Supreme Court to hear the case on a daily basis and decide it within eight months. However, Tejpal has alleged that the prosecution has repeatedly failed to comply with the trial judge’s order to supply all the pertinent documents to him so as to help him prepare his defence. These records included unedited camera footages and phone records, which, among other evidence, have been relied upon by the police in its chargesheet.
The petition contended that non-supply of these records would be violative of his rights to a free and fair trial and that the trial court could not be allowed to proceed with the case without Tejpal getting them. He has pointed out that he has not sought a single adjournment and that there was no attempt on his part to delay the case. Tejpal decided to move the apex court directly since the trial court cited the SC order while deciding to proceed.
On July 1, the court had released Tejpal on regular bail, stating it was not looking at his personality but was only concerned about the right to free trial. Cautioning Tejpal to not attempt to influence the outcome of the case by tampering with the evidence, the SC had directed the trial court to conclude the trial preferably within eight months from then.