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Goa court defers verdict in Tarun Tejpal case to May 12

While the Tarun Tejpal case was listed for judgment on Tuesday, the court said it would not be pronounced today and deferred it to May 12.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Mapusa |
Updated: April 28, 2021 5:45:59 am
Tarun Tejpal

A Goa sessions court on Tuesday deferred to May 12 pronouncement of judgment in the case of sexual assault against Tarun Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of the news magazine ‘Tehelka’.

Tejpal was accused of raping a woman in 2013.

The sessions court in Mapusa, North Goa, had earlier listed the case for judgment on Tuesday for which all parties concerned — the prosecution, the investigating officer and accused Tejpal — arrived in court in the morning.

Additional Sessions Judge Shama Joshi, however, informed them that she will not pronounce the judgment on Tuesday and said that the case will be decided on May 12.

Tejpal was tried for offences 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).

The complainant had accused him of sexually assaulting her inside a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa during an event on November 7, 2013. Tejpal, who was arrested on November 30, 2013, was later released on bail and had contested the allegations.

In the in-camera trial, the prosecution examined 71 witnesses and cross-examined five defence witnesses. The prosecution’s case mainly hinged on the statements of the victim and some of her colleagues, as well as electronic evidence such as e-mails and WhatsApp messages.

In February, 2014, Goa Police’s Crime Branch had filed a 2,846-page chargesheet against Tejpal, divided into 12 volumes and including 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 recommenced in October 2019 after Tejpal had moved the High Court of Bombay at Goa and then the Supreme Court for quashing of charges against him, and both courts turned down his pleas.

CASE TIMELINE

November 23, 2013: FIR lodged against Tejpal by a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel elevator on November 7, 2013.

November 30, 2013: Tejpal placed under arrest by the Goa Police Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail is rejected by a court.

February 17, 2014: Crime Branch files chargesheet running into 2,846-pages, divided into 12 volumes with statements of 152 witnesses.

July 2014: Supreme Court grants bail to Tejpal. He is released from jail.

June 2017: Sessions court accepts Tejpal’s plea to conduct the trial in-camera.

September 26, 2017: Tejpal contests framing of charges in the High Court of Bombay at Goa. HC refuses to grant stay.

September 28, 2017: Sessions court frames charges against Tejpal.

March 2018: Prosecution conducts victim’s examination in chief

August 19, 2019: SC rejects Tejpal’s plea to quash the FIR filed against him claiming he was framed. Directs the trial court to complete trial in six months.

October 2019: Trial recommences

March 2020 to September 2020: Trial stalled on account of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic

October 28, 2020: SC asks trial court to complete the trial by March 31, 2021

January 2021: Goa police submits supplementary chargesheet to trial court, says its wants to examine ten more witnesses.

March 2021: Arguments conclude. Sessions court lists judgment for April 27.

April 27, 2021: Sessions court defers judgment to May 12.

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