The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the bail plea of Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, accused in a rape case, and issued notice to the Goa Police.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam asked the Goa Police to file its reply within four weeks. During the brief arguments, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Tejpal, pleaded for interim bail and said the apex court can impose the condition on him not to leave Goa and come to Delhi during the pendency of the trial, which would be acceptable to him.
50-year-old Tejpal approached the Supreme Court challenging the March 14 verdict of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court which had rejected his bail plea. Tejpal has been chargesheeted for allegedly raping, sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a junior colleague during an event held at a hotel in Goa in November last year. Tejpal was arrested on November 30, 2013. He has been accused of sexually assaulting the victim on November 7 and repeating the offence the next day.
He is currently in judicial custody and lodged at Sada sub-jail in Goa's Vasco town. Tejpal, in his bail petition, stated there were 152 prosecution witnesses who have to be cross-examined by the court, due to which the trial is likely to get prolonged further. Tejpal has been chargesheeted under sections 354, 354-A (sexual harassment), 341 and 342 (wrongful restrain), 376 (rape), 376(2)(f) (being a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman and rapes her) and 376 (2)(k) (being in a position of control or dominance over a woman and rapes her) of the IPC.
The Goa Police has claimed in the chargesheet that there was sufficient evidence available in the form of documents and statements on record to show that Tejpal had been evading police after commission of the alleged crime.