Panaji: A Goa court has reserved order on Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal’s anticipatory bail plea till 4.30 p.m. Saturday.
Tejpal’s interim bail period has also been extended till that time.
In her concluding remarks before reserving the order following two hours of arguments, North Goa District and Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudessai told a packed courtroom, which included Tarun Tejpal, his sister and wife, that anticipatory bail is granted only in “extraordinary cases”.
As Tejpal and his family left the court on their way to a city hotel, an unidentified person shouted slogans against the editor and charged towards him with a black cloth but was overpowered and whisked away by police.
Earlier in the morning, the defence extended the argument it made Friday that Tejpal was fully co-operating with the investigators and that custodial interrogation was not necessary.
Lead defence lawyer Geeta Luthra offered several concessions to the prosecution like Tejpal’s willingness to stay in Goa till the police requires him to, surrendering his passport and fixed deposits, among others.
“I have offered that I will stay in Goa until a chargesheet is filed. I can be in Bangalore. I can be wherever this court directs,” Luthra also said on Tejpal’s behalf.
The lawyer also assured that for the duration of the investigation, Tejpal would not visit Mumbai where the victim resides.
She said that Tejpal does not have any criminal record and therefore should be considered for anticipatory bail.
Specially appointed public prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar, who argued during the latter half of the hearing, said that Tejpal was changing colours like a chameleon and that police custody is required to complete the Tejpal end of the probe and get the real story out of him.
“Custodial interrogation is a must,” Lotlikar said.
“Your contention that your (Tejpal’s) immaculate reputation will be damaged, may we tell you that it’s already gone for a toss, and mere detention under police custody won’t do any further damage,” the prosecution argued.
Lotlikar also submitted the victim’s statement to the judge and said that CCTV footage secured by police from the hotel had “enough hints” to confirm allegations of rape made by the victim.
Lotlikar also refuted claims made by the defence that the complainant had “vested interests” and therefore delayed informing her superiors about the two alleged sexual assaults by Tejpal in a Goa resort earlier this month.
“The lady is known to accused and her father was a friend of the accused. Being the sole breadwinner, she had to make the decision of her life before writing the email,” the prosecution lawyer argued, saying that the victim had told two-three colleagues about the assault.
Lotlikar also said that Tejpal’s associates had tried to intimidate the victim’s kin in Delhi and that a First Information Report (FIR) had already been filed in that regard.
“That the accused is trying to interfere with investigation is proved in the case,” Lotlikar said.
Lotlikar also accused Tejpal of insulting the victim by questioning her integrity, adding that she had been “violated by a person who was like a father figure”.