A Goa court will formally frame charges on Thursday against former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal in a rape case. Tejpal had challenged the lower court saying the case was not or rape but ‘false accusation of rape’. The only relief Justice Prithviraj Chavan had offered the journalist was deferring examination of the first witness to a date after November 1, when the higher court will hear his appeal.
The former editor-in-chief is accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague inside a lift at Hotel Grand Hyatt on the night of November 7, 2013.
Aman Lekhi, senior counsel from New Delhi appearing for Tejpal, had argued the fight is ‘asymmetrical’ and made a case that the “state has aligned with the victim”, while the reputation of the accused is being systematically destroyed. Through his arguments, Tejpal’s counsel maintained that the matter doesn’t stand fit to trial, and Tejpal should be relieved from undergoing the “trauma of a trial”, as there is “no sufficient ground to proceed” and the accusations made against the petitioner (Tejpal) is fully without foundation”.
Public prosecutor S Lotlikar had argued: “We are on a notice before the court. Charge will be framed, there is a mandate under the law that it should be completed within a stipulated time, here is a direction of the apex court that it should be concluded. It was earlier meant to be concluded in 8 months or earlier. We have now at least three years in this. There is no justification for stay of order.”
The Goa Police has booked Tejpal in multiple charges, including 354-A (sexual harrassment and punishment for sexual harassment), 376 (rape), 376(2)(k) IPC (rape of a woman by a person being in position of control or dominance over the woman, along with sections 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 376 (2) (f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women) and 376C IPC (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and Section 354 IPC.