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Tarun Tejpal case to be tried in fast track court: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 6:04pm IST Updated: Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 7:51pm IST | Place: New Delhi/Panaji | Agency: PTI
Tehelka's sting operation had led to the resignation of the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman who was caught on tape accepting money from undercover television reporters in connection with a purported defence deal.

Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a journalist woman colleague, will be tried by a fast track court and three witnesses in whom she had confided are expected to depose before a Goa magistrate tomorrow.

In Delhi, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "Tejpal will be tried in a fast track court. We will follow the Supreme Court's guidelines and have a female judge in this case."

"I will see to it that justice is given to the girl. No one need be worried that Tejpal, just because of his earlier background, will be treated in a wrong way or a different way," he said while responding to a question at a function.

Tehelka's sting operation had led to the resignation of the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman who was caught on tape accepting money from undercover television reporters in connection with a purported defence deal.

In Panaji, a senior police officer said the three colleagues of the woman journalist who had confided to them after the alleged incident, will record their statement before the magistrate tomorrow.

Tehelka's former Managing Editor Shoma Chowdhury has been summoned by the Goa police to appear before it on Saturday.

The police is likely to seek extension of Tejpal's custody by another eight days when he is produced in court on Saturday. The six-day police custody given earlier ends tomorrow evening.

"The investigation is heading in the right direction and we are interrogating Tejpal in detail...He (Tejpal) is cooperating," a senior police officer said.

The detailed statements of Tejpal are being recorded by a team led by Investigating Officer (IO) Sunita Sawant under the supervision of Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares.

"...Tejpal has been maintaining that the act was consensual," the officer said on the condition of anonymity.

Tejpal, who has been in police custody since Saturday night, has been spending much of his time going around pathological labs at Goa Medical College and OPD of the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour (IPHB). He will now undergo a third round of medical tests.

Questioning of Tejpal began on Sunday at the Crime Branch.

Police said Tejpal has admitted to writing an email to the woman journalist and also to Chowdhury.

A lawyer for Tejpal refused to comment on the police version that he has admitted to having committed the act while claiming it as "consensual".

"There are rumours about him confessing. We have no idea about it. The investigating officer takes statement under Section 161 of CrPC and we have no access to the statement," said the lawyer, who requested anonymity.

He said as a defence lawyer, he will come in the picture only after there is a charge sheet.

"Summons have been issued to Shoma Chowdhury and three witnesses. We have to question Tejpal based on the statement by them before the magistrate. We will ask for extension of his police custody," a senior official said.

Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting the woman journalist in an elevator at a prominent hotel in Panaji during the ThinkFest event held earlier last month.

The girl has said that she was sexually assaulted twice by Tejpal on two consecutive days.

To a volley of questions, Parrikar said, "Justice delayed is justice denied" and speedy justice should be given in all the cases. He also noted that Goa has a record of just a few backlog of cases.

When asked on why did he choose to tell the media that probe will be conducted in a fair manner and without interference, he said he was merely replying to questions from reporters.

"This is a matter of criminal investigation. Its not my habit to interfere in criminal investigation," he said.


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