A court in Goa today charged former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in the elevator of a hotel in north Goa during an event nearly four years ago. As reported by Indiatoday.in, Tejpal, 54, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
“Charges are framed and have been explained to Tarun Tejpal. He has pleaded not guilty to rape charge as well as charges under sections 341, 342, 354 A&B, 376 sub section 2,” Public Prosecutor Francisco Taviera said.
Tejpal has been charged under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code had been endorsed by the court, while an additional Section 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) had also been added.
Tejpal’s lawyers earlier had seeked to defer the framing of the charges, but the court had rejected the request. The Bombay High Court had also rejected Tejpal’s plea earlier this week, to stop the framing of charges till it decided on his petition to drop the case against him.
The court direction had followed a petition by Tejpal challenging the framing of charges against him by the Additional North Goa District and Sessions court for the alleged rape of a colleague during a conference in Goa in 2013.
Tejpal’s counsel Aman Lekhi, while challenging the September 7 framing of charges process, said that “the accusations of rape were false and that the prosecution had delayed handing over the evidence to him by three years.”
The prosecution lawyer Saresh Lotlikar, argued on the other hand, that unless there was a proper trial, the genuineness of the charges against Tejpal, could not be established.
Tarun Tejpal, founder and former editor-in-chief of Tehelka was booked for allegedly raping a junior colleague at a hotel in North Goa’s Bambolim in November 2013. Tejpal was subsequently arrested but is now out on bail. The woman had resigned from Tehelka on November 25, 2013, stating in her resignation letter, that the organization had failed her.