‘Morally abhorrent offence’: Tarun Tejpal’s plea dismissed, SC asks Goa court to conclude trial in 6 months

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of Tehelka magazine founder Tarun Tejpal seeking quashing of charges framed against him in a sexual assault case filed by his junior colleague in 2013. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed that it was a serious and morally abhorrent offence and set a deadline for trial to conclude. The top court took note of the delay in the case and asked Goas lower court to complete the trial within six months against Tejpal. Tejpal had moved the top court challenging the trial court order which had framed the charges dealing with rape and wrongful confinement against him. He has pleaded not guilty and claimed innocence. The Goa Police had claimed that there were contemporaneous WhatsApp messages and e-mails which showed that the Tehelka magazine founder should face trial in the case. The police, while opposing Tejpals plea seeking quashing of charges framed against him, had told the court that there was ample material warranting trial in the case. Earlier, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had asked Tejpal why he apologized to his former colleague if he claims that the sexual assault charges were not true. His lawyer said that the allegations of rape against his client were false and without any basis. But the court sought to know why he sent the letter of apology to the woman. Tejpals counsel and senior lawyer Vikas Singh had cited the CCTV footage of the hotel lobby and argued that it was the complainant who could be seen running after him and that she was the one who started everything. Tejpals junior colleague had accused him of sexually assaulting her inside a lift at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event in 2013. He was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the crime branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. Tejpal is currently out on bail. He was granted bail in May 2014.