The charge sheet against Tarun Tejpal of Tehelka, presented by the Goa police in the court of the first class judicial magistrate Panaji in Goa on Monday, is a serious and stunning indictiment of the well-known journalist.
Tejpal has been charged under sections 341, 342, 354, 354A, 376, 376 (2) and other related sections under the criminal law amendment act (2013) which deal with rape, rape by a person in a position of control or dominance over a woman, rape by a person in a position of trust or authority.
Every detail of what transpired on the days of the alleged rape has been documented, including SMS, emails, phonecalls, witness statements, CCTV footage all of which have been forensically examined by CFSL laboratory, Hyderabad, and proved in what can be termed an exhaustive investigation led by IO Sunita Sawant.
The charge sheet details how Tejpal had contrived to attack the victim on both days, November 7 and 8, and had planned it to extreme detail. The details of how the victim reported the matter immediately to her colleagues and even Tejpal's daugher soon after the incident has been detailed.
What is of interest is that Tejpal's daughter accosted and shouted at her father after her friend, the victim, narrated the terrible incident to her on the first day. Since then, the family has been together in trying to defend Tejpal.
According to the charge sheet, the victim was attacked on both days inside the lift and an attempt was made to have oral sex with her despite the victim's vehement protest. The question of why the victim entered the lift the next day with him as also been answered convincingly in the charge sheet (see excerpts on p??). This was the factor being pointed out by Tejpal's supporters to prove that the victim was not someone who could be believed and whose character was suspect.
In Delhi, a campaign had been led by former Tehelka editor Shoma Choudhury named as one of the witnesses, to paint the victim as a person of dubious moral character and pictures of the victim in beachwear were shown to various journalists. A case has been registered against unknown persons for distributing an email identifying the victim and showing her along with Robert de Niro and Tejpal.
Various emails from Tejpal and Shoma Choudhury admitting that such an incident had happened and the apology issued as email are part of the charge sheet and will serve as damning evidence against the accused. One such Tejpal email reads: "the last days have been most testing and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for".
Inside the lift on November 7, Tejpal told her: "It is all right to be in love with more than one person," and "well, this is the easiet way for you to keep your job."
Tejpal has been in jail for more than two months now. His bail application is coming up for hearing in the Goa high court bench in Mumbai on Tuesday. Since the charge sheet has been filed, he is likely to get bail.
"Under the amended IPC section 309, we are going to request the special public prosecutor to request the trial judge to conduct the trial on day-to-day basis. If this happens, the trial will complete within 60 days of the filing of charge sheet," DIG OP Mishra told reporters in Panaji.