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Tarun Tejpal rape case: Goa court defers verdict due to power outage

While the case was earlier listed for judgment on April 27, the court deferred its decision until May 12, and subsequently to Wednesday. On May 12, the court had cited shortage of staff on account of Covid-19.

By: Express News Service | Panaji |
Updated: May 20, 2021 7:46:07 am
Tarun Tejpal at the Mapusa Sessions Court on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Mayura Janwalkar)

The Mapusa District and Sessions Court in Goa on Wednesday deferred the pronouncement of judgment in the trial of former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who has been accused of raping a woman in 2013. The Additional Sessions Judge is now expected to deliver the verdict on May 21.

Both prosecution and defence lawyers said the court was unable to pronounce the judgment on Wednesday due to the power disruption in many parts of north Goa due to Tauktae — then classified as a very severe cyclonic storm – passing Goa’s coast on May 16.

“The pronouncement of judgment has been adjourned till May 21. The court could not pronounce the judgment today because of power failure,” said special public prosecutor Francisco Tavora.

Tejpal faced trial in a November 2013 case in which he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman inside a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa. He was accused of committing 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).

Tejpal, who was arrested on November 30, 2013, had denied the allegations and was later released on bail.

In February 2014, the Goa Police Crime Branch had filed a 2,846-page chargesheet against Tejpal.

While the case was earlier listed for judgment on April 27, the court had deferred its decision first to May 12 and then, citing shortage of staff on account of Covid-19, adjourned the pronouncement of judgment to Wednesday.

In the trial held in-camera, the prosecution examined 71 witnesses and cross-examined five defence witnesses. The case of the prosecution mainly rested on the statement of the victim, some of her colleagues and electronic evidence including emails and WhatsApp messages.

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