Former Tehelka editor and rape accused Tarun Tejpal got a breather on Tuesday when the Supreme Court extended his interim bail till June 27 so that he could perform rituals pertaining to his mother's demise.
"Why do you want him inside? Despite the fact that he was granted bail, he could not attend the funeral of his mother. Give us any reason not to allow him," a vacation bench of justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan asked the Goa government's counsel who objected to the extension. The state lawyer referred to Tejpal's conduct in jail and expressed apprehension that "Tejpal can influence witnesses in case he is granted more time".
But the bench accepted the submission of Tejpal's counsel Salman Khurshid and Pramod Kumar Dubey that being the eldest in the family, Tejpal has to perform "shanti pooja" for 21 days, which will end on June 27.
Tejpal had sought an extension of six weeks to perform rituals after his mother passed away last month. He said that his father is 82 years old and his medical condition is not good to perform the rituals. The apex court had granted Tejpal three weeks' interim bail on May 19 to perform the last rites and other rituals of his mother, Shakuntala, 87, who died of brain tumour.
Tejpal had been behind bars in Sada sub-jail in Vasco since November 2013 after his junior colleague accused him of sexual assault at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event organised by Tehelka. Tejpal faces charges of rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of his junior colleague.