Veteran journalist Tarun Tejpal on Friday paid a profound tribute to his lawyer Rajeev Gomes, who died due to COVID-19 complications last week. Tejpal’s note came moments after a Goa court acquitted him in a rape case.
Tejpal said in a statement, “As a family we owe Rajeev Gomes a profound and permanent debt. And we grieve alongside his wife Cheryl and his young son Sean. No client can ever hope for a better lawyer than Rajeev.”
Tejpal also remembered the contribution of his legal team as he thanked all of them for their role in his acquittal. “In these 8 years a host of outstanding lawyers came to our aid, and we owe them all a deep debt, prime among them Pramod Dubey, Aamir Khan, Ankur Chawla, Amit Desai, Kapil Sibal,Salman Khurshid, Aman Lekhi, Sandeep Kapoor, Raian Karanjewala, and Shrikant Shivade,” Tejpal said.
Tejpal, who was arrested after the Goa Police booked him under rape charges in 2013, said that last seven-and-half years had been very traumatic for him and his family. The founder of Tehelka magazine ahs been out on bail since 2014. “The past seven-and-a-half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives,” Tejpal said in a statement.
He said, “In November 2013, I was falsely accused of sexual assault by a colleague. Today the Hon’ble trial court of Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi, in Goa, has honourably acquitted me. In an awfully vitiated age, where ordinary courage has become rare, I thank her for standing by the truth.
He added, “We have felt the boot of the state, but through it all, we have co-operated fully with the Goa police and the legal system, through hundreds of court proceedings.”
Tejpal had maintained his innocence and blamed the BJP government of Goa of falsely implicating him in a rape case to avenge his previous investigative stories that had caused embarrassment to top BJP leadership in the past. In 2001, Tejpal’s Operation West End had exposed the corruption in defence deals under the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Centre.
The expose had led to the resignation of late George Fernandes, a senior functionary of the ruling coalition, the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman and several other armed forces officials.