PANJIM: Tarun Tejpal, the Tehelka founder accused of rape, could not be arrested till Saturday morning, ruled a Goa judge, who heard his request for bail.
Tejpal landed in Goa Friday evening, and was greeted by protestors. He was later interrogated in the Goa crime branch office for one-and-a-half hours.
During Friday’s session in Court, the judge appeared to reject all major arguments offered by Tejpal’s lawyers as they petitioned for his bail. The judge also censured them naming the woman reporter who was allegedly raped. “Are you trying to malign her? We are not playing to the gallery. This is not a minor mistake,” the judge said.
The judge seemed unimpressed with defence lawyers’ claims that the case against Tejpal is a political conspiracy, and that the delay in filing the complaint by his colleague suggests it was inauthentic.
“I am concerned with the crime, not the political remarks that were made after,” the judge asked Tejpal’s lawyers. The defence team argued that the BJP, which is in power in Goa, is persecuting Tejpal for earlier Tehelka exposes on its top leaders.
Tejpal’s lawyers said that the fact that the reporter attended parties at the annual Tehelka conference after the alleged sexual assault proves that the complaint is fabricated. The judge said her behaviour after the encounter “is irrelevant.”
Tejpal’s appearance at the Delhi airport this afternoon before he boarded the flight for Goa was his first public sighting since he was accused of raping the reporter at an annual Tehelka conference in Goa earlier this month. She did not press charges, but detailed her allegations against him to her boss at Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary, in an email that was leaked.
The Goa Police used that email to commence its investigation against Tejpal. Chaudhary resigned as Tehelka’s Managing Editor yesterday.