Tejpal's bail ends at 10 am; likely to be arrested
Panaji: Tehelka magazine founder editor Tarun Tejpal left the crime branch headquarters of Goa Police in the Dona Paula area of Panaji on Friday after over two hours of questioning over his role in a sexual harassment case. Earlier, Tejpal refused to entertain any questions from the media.
He only said: "I'll talk to you guys soon . I am joining the investigation." Earlier, he was given interim bail by a Sessions Court here, after the latter decided to extend the hearing of his case till 10 am today. Tejpal had landed in Panaji, and as expected, was escorted by law enforcement officials to the court in connection with a sexual harassment case lodged against him.
Goa Police had sought custodial interrogation of Tejpal, as they believed he was trying to avoid them and possible arrest in connection with the case. The demand for custodial interrogation was made after Tejpal was first given interim bail by the Sessions Court till 2.30 pm on Friday.
The court said it would pronounce its final order later. Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman colleague. Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudesai gave Tejpal interim protection from arrest on a bail application moved by his lawyers.
Tejpal's lawyers had moved the court for bail after a joint team of Goa and Delhi police went to his residence in Delhi to arrest him this morning but did not find him there. Later they carried out searches at various other places, including that of his relatives. Goa Police has summoned Tejpal to appear before it in connection with the sexual assault allegation against him.
Tejpal has been summoned in the wake of the recording of the statement made by the victim, a former woman journalist of Tehelka, before a Goa court. She was allegedly sexually assaulted in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa earlier this month. The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday reserved its order on Tejpal's bail application till Friday. Tejpal had applied for anticipatory bail even before the Goa Police summoned him. Tejpal has filed a petition before the high court alleging that there was conspiracy behind the allegations of sexual assault, that the woman journalist was lying, and described the incident as a 'light hearted banter'.
Goa Police had on November 22 lodged an FIR against Tejpal under IPC sections 376 (rape), 376 (2)(K) (rape by a person of a woman in his custody taking advantage of his official position) and 354 (outraging modesty). Conviction under section 376 of IPC entails a maximum of life term in jail. Tejpal has suggested that the young journalist's version of events is not entirely accurate. But in an email to her sent on Tuesday, he had admitted to a "shameful lapse of judgment that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions on 7 November and 8 November 2013, despite your clear reluctance that you did not want such attention from me."
Goa Police was instructed by the state government to investigate her allegations, contained in the email by her to Chaudhury. That email was leaked to the press. The FIR against Tejpal lists rape by a person in a position of authority over the woman, an offence that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.